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Managing conservation areas

Local planning authorities designate conservation areas for their special architectural and historic interest.

Designation provides the basis for policies designed to enhance as well as preserve all those aspects of the character or appearance of an area that contribute to its special interest.

A conservation area appraisal is the foundation for positive management. It provides a detailed picture of what makes an area special and can be used to identify opportunities and priorities for action. The appraisal offers a shared understanding of character and importance, and highlights problems and potential, which can be used as the evidence base for a more detailed management plan supported by a robust local policy framework.

The appraisal, together with the management plan, is best adopted by the local authority as supplementary planning guidance to carry weight as a material consideration in the planning process.

Conservation areas have multiple stakeholders so it is important that the local planning authority inform local property owners, residents and businesses about specific policies and explain why an area has been designated, how they can help to protect its character and appearance, and what additional controls and opportunities for assistance designation may bring.

The local planning authority should also regularly monitor, review and evaluate the impact of designation and the success of management strategies in preserving or enhancing the character or appearance of conservation areas.

Managing Conservation Areas in Wales sets out the policy context for the designation and management of conservation areas and the duties of local planning authorities. It also identifies key aspects of best practice for their designation and appraisal, including the participation of stakeholders and the development of local policies for positive management and enhancement so that their character and appearance are preserved and enhanced.

This best-practice guide is aimed mainly at local planning authorities to ensure a consistent approach to conservation area designation, appraisal and management throughout Wales. It will also be of interest to property owners and other stakeholders who want to know more about existing or proposed conservation areas and how positive management can enable change which preserves or enhances character or appearance.

Managing Conservation Areas in Wales supplements Planning Policy Wales and Technical Advice Note 24: The Historic Environment.