The concept of conservation areas was introduced in England, Wales and Scotland by the Civic Amenities Act 1967 through a private members bill led by Lord Duncan Sandys. Civic Voice holds the annual Sandys Lecture in his name. When legislation was introduced there was widespread public concern over the pace of redevelopment in our historic towns and cities.
Today there are over 10,000 conservation areas in the UK (approximately 9,300 in England, 500 in Wales, 650 in Scotland and 60 in Northern Ireland) reflecting the popularity of this legislative tool in identifying and protecting our most valued historic places.
Conservation area designation essentially controls the demolition of unlisted buildings over a certain size and works to protect trees, restricts permitted development rights on dwelling houses and tightens regulations on advertising AND places a statutory duty on local planning authorities to pay special attention to preserving or enhancing the character or appearance of conservation areas while undertaking their planning duties.
Designating a conservation area should not be seen as an end in itself: we live in a changing world and for the historic environment to survive and continue to be cherished it needs to be positively managed.
Civic Voice calls upon communities across the country to come together and say “My Conservation Area Matters”, and asked groups across the country to help use 2017 as a focus to celebrate 50 years of conservation areas and to participate in local and national events to recognise how conservation areas have helped keep many of our towns distinctive.
From The Big Conservation Conversation, Civic Voice