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Who is Responsible?

Keeping our Conservation Areas in a condition of which we can all be proud is not just the job of the Conservation Officer.

Everyone must work together - the community and the council as a whole. Article 4 Directions need local community backing, and dealing with streets and open spaces should involve all parts of the council from its Highways Engineers to the Environmental Services department, to the Health and Education Services whose historic public buildings are often the focus of a conservation area.

What you can do

Our survey shows that conservation areas with community support are more than twice as likely to improve in the next three years as those without. Conservation areas are the local heritage that people pass on. Join our campaign today and you will be helping not only yourselves, but your neighbours, your children and your children’s children.

  • Download a copy of our 'Conservation Areas at Risk' campaign booklet by using the right hand menu option.
  • For hard copies call Historic England Customer Services on 0370 333 0607.
    Download a poster using the right hand menu option to put in your local park, school or community building.
  • Contact your Ward Councillor asking them to raise the issues at a Council meeting.
  • Make sure your local authority has an adequate regime of development control (using ‘Article 4 Directions’) and is willing to take rapid enforcement against unauthorised development.
  • Join or start a residents' association, civic society or local amenity group to comment on planning applications and tell the local authority about other local concerns.
  • Start a local newsletter to provide news and advice on planning, conservation and neighbourhood issues.
  • Encourage your local authority to appoint a Heritage Champion. A Conservation Area is much more likely to be expected to improve over the next three years if there is a Heritage Champion in the authority.
  • Encourage all local residents to follow Historic England's good practice guide for householders Looking After Your House.
  • Provide all new residents with a welcome pack that explains the history of the area and how to follow good practice when planning alterations to their homes.
  • Get involved in preparing a Village or Neighbourhood Design Statement and then agree a strategy putting it into action.
  • These community-led projects look at those sites in the settlement that might benefit from development and how high quality design might be achieved.
  • Help the local authority to prepare a Local List of buildings of architectural or historic interest.
  • Carry out regular audits to identify street clutter and other local eyesores, including poorly maintained pavements, memorials, street furniture and public spaces – and then talk to your local authority about what needs to be done. Download an audit form.
  • Lobby your local authority to deal with neglected buildings at risk, rundown streets and public spaces. For further information see our campaign booklet.

What local authorities can do

  • Make sure that Article 4 Directions are being used where they can help protect the local character.
  • Take rapid enforcement action against unauthorised development to maintain standards and consistency.
  • Make sure each conservation area has had a character appraisal carried out which will identify clearly and specifically which buildings and features contribute towards the area's character and which don't.
  • Provide each conservation area with a management plan that includes policies for its streetscape, highways, landscapes and public spaces.
  • These help ensure that the special character is protected when making decisions on planning applications or in identifying projects of enhancement to the public spaces.
  • Use the guidance of Historic England's Improve Your Street to make sure the streetscape is managed in an integrated way.
  • Identify historic buildings at risk within the conservation area and prepare an action plan for their repair and reuse.
  • Make sure they appoint an elected member Heritage Champion and listen to the views they gather from meeting local people.
  • Give residents and local businesses information about the benefits and restrictions that come with conservation area designation and work with local groups on the long-term stewardship of the area.

What Historic England will do

  • Encourage every local authority in the country to participate in our Conservation Areas at Risk survey and publish the results as part of our 'Heritage at Risk' project.
  • Provide national advice and guidance about the best ways of managing conservation areas.
  • Help local authorities and other regional partners to make the improvement of conservation areas an integral part of their regeneration strategies.
  • Make sure our grant schemes give priority to Conservation Areas at Risk and are closely coordinated with those of Heritage Lottery Fund and other funders.
  • Work with government and local authorities to make sure that existing conservation area regulations and procedures remain effective.

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