Go to navigation

Conservation areas

A conservation area is an area of special architectural or historic interest. Conservation areas vary in size, ranging from town centres to much smaller groups of buildings. They may be centred on listed buildings but other features of merit, such as open spaces, trees, historic street patterns or items of historic or archaeological interest, may also contribute to the special character of an area.

Preserving character

Medway Council, through the Planning (Listed Building and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, has a statutory duty to ensure that developments within a conservation area (to both new and existing buildings) preserve or enhance the character or appearance of the area. In particular:

  • building owners must get conservation area consent from the council before demolishing or partly demolishing a building
  • new development will be required to preserve or enhance the special character and appearance of the area.

In some conservation areas, the council has taken additional planning powers known as Article 4 directions. These require planning permission to be sought for altering or changing doors, windows, boundary walls and minor changes such as external painting.

Restrictions apply to the erection of signs or satellite dishes. Property owners in conservation areas should always check to see whether permission is needed for these.

Anyone wishing to prune or fell a tree in a conservation area will usually have to give six weeks' notice in writing to the council. There are some exemptions to this requirement that allow anyone to cut down or prune a tree in a conservation area where:

  • the exemptions for a tree protected with a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) apply
  • the tree has a stem diameter of less than 7.5 centimetres at 1.5 metres above ground level
  • the tree has a stem diameter of less than 10 centimetres at 1.5 metres above ground level and you are thinning to help the growth of other trees.

During the six-week period of notice, Medway Council’s tree officers will need to visit the site and decide if they are to protect the tree with a TPO or allow the work to go ahead. Medway Council can simply modify the work you want to do (if you agree to any such modification) or allow the work to go ahead with conditions imposed. If you have heard nothing after six weeks, you can assume that your proposal has been accepted and you may continue with the work.

Detailed advice on the type of work requiring planning permission can be obtained by the Design and Conservation Team on 01634 331721 or design.conservation@medway.gov.uk

A general guide - Conservation Areas in Medway - a guide to the law and our policy (pdf 914KB) - is available. To use this and the other pdf files on this page, you will need Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you do not have this on your computer, please use our advice page.

Conservation areas in Medway

Maps of all the conservation areas are available to download:

* An Article 4 direction applies to all or part of this conservation area.

A full list of properties located in Conservation Areas (pdf 480KB) is also available and can be used in conjunction with the maps above. To find an address in the document, hold the 'Ctrl' key and press the 'f' key, then enter the street name or postcode into the box highlighted.

For the avoidance of any doubt please contact the Design and Conservation team to confirm whether a property is in a Conservation Area.

Conservation area design guides

Design guides on altering, restoring or extending existing buildings in the following conservation areas are available:

Conservation area appraisals

Conservation area appraisals are documents explaining the architectural and historical qualities that make each conservation area special. They help the council and others to judge whether new development will preserve and enhance the conservation area and in ensure that the architectural and historic significance of an area is taken into account when considering development proposals and schemes.

Following public consultation with residents and stakeholders within each area, the following conservation area appraisals have been produced:

In addition, the Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust has produced a conservation area appraisal for Chatham Historic Dockyard. For information about these appraisals or any further information, phone 01634 331721.