Although conservation areas mean some extra planning controls and considerations, these exist to protect the historic and architectural elements which make the place special. They are most likely to affect owners who want to work on the outside of their building or any trees on their property.
To find out whether your property is within the Cottenham Conservation Area please click here
Being in a conservation area might mean that your house is affected by special controls (called ‘Article 4 Directions’), which restrict work you can normally do without planning permission such as replacing a door or window or altering gutters and downpipes.
Some trees are protected by legislation, and it is essential that you establish the legal status of trees prior to carrying out works to them. Unauthorised work to protected trees could lead to prosecution, resulting in enforcement action such as fines or a criminal record. Tree Preservation Orders, Conservation Areas, Planning Conditions, Felling Licences or Restrictive Covenants legally protect many trees in the UK.
Normal TPO procedures apply if a tree in a conservation area is already protected by a TPO (see below). However if a tree in a conservation area is not covered by a TPO, you must give at least six weeks notice to the local planning authority. There are exceptions to this requirement, including when the tree is dead, dying or has become dangerous. This notice period gives the local planning authority the opportunity to decide if it is necessary to impose a tree preservation order on the tree in order to discharge its duty to have special regard to the desirability of preserving or enhancing the character or appearance of the conservation area.
It is a criminal offence to carry out works to a tree where consent has been refused or where notice was required and not served on the local planning authority.
Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs)
TPOs are administered by Local Planning Authorities (LPA) (e.g. a borough, district or unitary council or a national park authority) and are made to protect trees that bring significant amenity benefit to the local area. This protection is particularly important where trees are under threat.
All types of tree, but not hedges, bushes or shrubs, can be protected, and a TPO can protect anything from a single tree to all trees within a defined area or woodland. Any species can be protected, but no species is automatically protected by a Tree Preservation Order.
A TPO is a written order which, in general, makes it a criminal offence to cut down, top, lop, uproot, wilfully damage or wilfully destroy a tree protected by that order, or to cause or permit such actions, without the authority’s permission. Anyone found guilty of such an offence is liable. In serious cases the case may be dealt with in the Crown Court where an unlimited fine can be imposed.
To make an application to carry out tree works you will need to complete an application form and submit it to the LPA. The form can either be submitted through the Planning Portal or directly to the LPA. You might also find it helpful to seek the advice of a tree surgeon prior to making an application.
The tree owner is responsible for instructing contractors and owners must seek their own contractor to ensure quality. A very good source is the Arboricultural Association list of approved contractors
For more information about conservation areas please see the Historic England website