Conservation and Conservation Areas



Conservation, together with the designation and protection of Conservation Areas, is the responsibility of the Development Management Team.  Conservation Areas are defined as "areas of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance".  Richmondshire is fortunate in having many fine buildings and attractive towns and villages which are distinguished by their architecture, landscape and history, creating an attractive district environment which is the product of several different eras.  These "Conservation Areas" are important examples of our social, cultural and economic history and must be safeguarded from indiscriminate or ill-considered change.
These Areas often contain "Listed Buildings" which have individual statutory protection. However, it is not always enough to protect these buildings in isolation. Their surroundings and general environment are often of equal importance and Conservation Areas are intended to protect that environment.
We have a responsibility to ensure that the character of these areas is not diminished in our lifetime.

How are Conservation Areas Chosen for Designation ?

Conservation Areas vary, ranging from historic town centres to rural villages.  Attractive and important buildings are usually the starting point for designation, but distinctive elements of history, architecture, layout or private spaces, such as gardens, parks and greens; trees or street furniture may lead to designation.  Conservation Areas give broader protection than listing individual buildings and all features within the area, listed or otherwise, are recognised as part of its character.

Who Designates Conservation Areas ?

Richmondshire District Council as the Local Planning Authority outside the Yorkshire Dales National Park has designated 41 Conservation Areas since 1974.  Since the original designations the boundaries of some Conservation Areas have been reviewed and a number have been amended such as at Richmond and Middleham.

What Does Designation Mean ?

Within a Conservation Area there are slightly different controls over the following:
Domestic/Householder Development
The rights to alter and extend private houses without planning permission are different and tend to be more restrictive in Conservation Areas. These include the erection of satellite dishes, dormer windows, various cladding and there is more restriction in terms of size and position of extensions that can be built without having to apply for planning permission.  In addition, in Leyburn and Middleham Conservation Areas, additional controls have been introduced through an Artilce 4 Direction,  details of which can be viewed below.  It is always best to ask before committing yourself.
Anyone proposing to cut down, top or lop a tree in a Conservation Area, whether or not it is covered by a Tree Preservation Order, has to give 6 weeks notice to the Council.  The Council must then consider what contribution the tree makes to the character of the Conservation Area and, if necessary, it will make a Tree Preservation Order to protect it.

What Does the Council Normally Do in Conservation Areas ?

The Council consults widely on planning applications affecting a Conservation Area and when considering such applications has to have regard to the desirability of preserving and enhancing the character of that area.

What Policies are Used to Manage Development in Conservation Areas ?

Our main body of conservation policy is in the Richmondshire Local Plan which includes conservation policy within wider planning policies for the area.  Policies generally seek to encourage new development that will have the effect of preserving and/or enhancing the character of Conservation Areas.

Living in a Conservation Area

The designation of a Conservation Area indicates the Council's positive commitment to that area and its intention to preserve and enhance the quality of the environment.  However, Conservation Areas are living communities which must be allowed to change over time in order to remain vital and prosperous.  Consequently the emphasis is to guide and manage development rather than to prevent it.  It is important that all new development should be sympathetic to the special architectural and aesthetic qualities of its area, particularly in terms of scale, design, materials and space between buildings.  The Council advertises all planning applications affecting the character of Conservation Areas both on site and in the Darlington and Stockton Times.

Design of New Development

The Council will require very high standards of design responding to the essential qualities of the particular Conservation Area.  New development must make a positive contribution to the character of the area.  In view of this the Council can require additional information in support of any planning application showing how the proposal will relate to its context.  This can mean the submission of elevations of adjacent buildings, full details of the proposal and examples of materials and colours.  Usually only a fully detailed planning application will be considered, which should be accompanied by a heritage statement.

The Success of a Conservation Area

The ultimate success of a Conservation Area will depend very much upon the care which individual owners take with the maintenance and repair of their properties and in any alterations or extensions they make – especially those which do not need planning permission.  For example original windows and doors should be repaired where possible, or replaced with new ones to match the originals in terms of materials used and details of their design.  Cumulatively, even small changes can detract from the special character of an area.
The North Yorkshire Building Control Partnership is very careful to balance the national requirements of safety, public health and energy conservation with the more local objective of looking after the special character of Conservation Areas.  So, for example, requirements for double glazing can be modified when applied to historic buildings.
If you would like to make any changes to your property or require further information please contact us.

Plans of Conservation Areas

Easby (see below)
Newsham (Revised November 2017)
Richmond Hill (see below)
Thornton Steward (see below)

Conservation Area Statements

Within the Richmondshire Local Plan 1999-2006 there were brief profiles for each Conservation Area – outlining its main characteristics, copies of these can be found in the documents below which are grouped on an alphabetical basis.
At that time the Council also produced a number of informal Conservation Area Studies :

Conservation Area Appraisals and Management Plans

Current guidance from English Heritage is that an Appraisal and Management Plan should be produced for each Conservation Area and the Council have so far adopted the following as Supplementary Planning Guidance.  In partnership with local communities it is hoped that the coverage of appraisals and management plans will be increased.  Any new appraisals and management plans will be posted on the website as they become available for consultation.

Middleton Tyas

Richmond Hill (Garden Village)

Thornton Steward

Quarry Hills Leyburn





Article 4 Directions

When an Article 4 Direction is made, it removes some of the normal 'permitted development rights' that residential properties enjoy.  These are usually introduced in a Conservation Area to ensure that minor developments such as the replacement of a roof or the replacement of windows do not damage the character and appearance of the Conservation Area.  In Richmondshire, both Middleham and Leyburn Conservation Areas have Article 4 Directions.  Design guides have also been produced to help owners.

Middleham Article 4 Direction

Middleham Article 4 Direction (April 2013)

Middleham Conservation Area Design Guide

Leyburn Article 4 Direction

Leyburn Article 4 Direction (April 2013)

Leyburn Conservation Area Design Guide

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Tel : 01748 829100



Please note – The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority is responsible for conservation and Conservation Areas in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. They can be contacted at :
Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority
North Yorkshire
Tel: 0300 456 0030
Fax: 01969 652399
Email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Contact Us

Richmondshire District Council
Mercury House
Station Road
North Yorkshire
DL10 4JX

Phone: 01748 829100
Fax: 01748 826186
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