Skelton Conservation Area
City of York
Page 1

A practical guide to living within a

 Conservation Area for householders

This guide explains the practical
implications of living within or owning
property within a conservation area. It is
mainly aimed at owners of domestic
property since houses enjoy more
freedom under legislation than non-
domestic buildings.

The guide aims to be comprehensive but
not exhaustive. It will answer the most
frequently asked questions but if you are
in any doubt over whether works to a
property require planning permission or
could be affected by conservation area
status, you should contact the planning
department. In particular, owners of
listed buildings should contact the council
prior to undertaking work to their


1.1 What is a Conservation Area?

The legal definition of conservation areas
as stated in Section 69 of the Planning
(Listed Buildings and Conservation
Areas) Act 1990 is:

 ‘… areas of special architectural or
historical interest the character or
appearance of which it is desirable to
preserve or enhance.’

In simple terms, a conservation area is
an area that is usually historic in
character and is special or attractive
enough to warrant protection. The historic
centre of York is an obvious example as
are many village centres around the city

with a large number of 18th and 19th
century buildings, greens, mature trees
and hedgerows. Occasionally areas can
be special for other reasons, for example,
the Nestle Conservation Area was
designated for its social and economic
importance to the city, and its
associations with the Rowntree family.

City of York Council, as the local planning
authority, has a statutory duty to preserve
and enhance the special character of a
conservation area. It seeks to achieve
this through considering the effect
development has on the character of a
conservation area and where resources
allow, undertaking or funding
enhancement projects either in part or

Conservation area legislation only
protects built up areas. One common
and very understandable misconception
is that conservation areas can protect
areas of natural beauty, such as
woodlands, riverbanks or meadows.
Areas of natural beauty are only a
consideration where they contribute to
the setting of a village or town, for
example, trees within gardens or streets.
Sometimes adjoining fields and gardens
can be included within a conservation
area if they are of historic or
archaeological interest and/ or are
important to the setting of the
conservation area.

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