Our area covers the Islington CA7 Conservation Area (see map in drop-down menu). Any questions or queries regarding conservational issues in the area should be addressed to Islington Council (see dropdown). Obviously we can’t offer Council planning or conservation advice ourselves, but please get in touch if you’re stuck.
There are special controls over what requires planning permission in the Conservation Area and these have been strengthened by an Article 4 Direction, which means that planning permission is required for various minor external works that had previously been considered as ‘permitted development’. The following is not an exhaustive list, but an indication of the sort of works that require planning permission:
Certain works that would normally require planning permission are permitted by the General Permitted Development Order (GPDO). This is primarily because the works are of a scale or type that is generally not likely to have an unacceptable impact. The rules are the same across England and so inevitably cannot take account of local sensitivities.
The GPDO 1995 is the principal order. It has been subject to a number of subsequent amendments. The Order sets out classes of development for which a grant of planning permission is automatically given.
An article 4 direction is made by the local planning authority. It restricts the scope of permitted development rights either in relation to a particular area or site, or a particular type of development anywhere in the authority’s area. Where an article 4 direction is in effect, a planning application may be required for development that would otherwise have been permitted development. Article 4 directions are used to control works that could threaten the character of an area of acknowledged importance, such as a conservation area.
Article 4 directions can increase the public protection of designated and non-designated heritage assets and their settings. They are not necessary for works to listed buildings and scheduled monuments as listed building consent and scheduled monument consent would cover all potentially harmful works that would otherwise be permitted development under the planning regime. However, article 4 directions might assist in the protection of all other heritage assets (particularly conservation areas) and help the protection of the setting of all heritage assets, including listed buildings.
Article 4 directions may be used to require planning permission for the demolition of a non-designated heritage asset (such as a locally listed building outside of a conservation area), by removing the demolition rights under part 31 of the Order.
Government has issued guidance on when and how to make an article 4 direction. It says that local authorities should consider making Article 4 directions only in those exceptional circumstances where the exercise of permitted development rights would harm local amenity, the historic environment or the proper planning of the area.
The Council’s prior permission, known as Conservation Area Consent, is required to demolish almost any type of building or substantial part of a building in the area. The Council wishes to retain all statutory and locally listed buildings together with all pre-1939 buildings in the area and consent will not be granted for their demolition. Redevelopment of other buildings will be considered only where this improves the appearance of the area.
If in doubt always ask the Planning Department first. Failure to obtain prior consent may involve owners in having to reinstate alterations, thus incurring extra cost. A document outlining the planning restrictions for building works in the Whitehall Park Conservation Area may be downloaded here.
The Council is committed to maintaining, protecting and increasing the tree population in the borough, and its objectives are set out in its Tree Policy document. Trees within the conservation area having a trunk diameter of 75mm at 1.5m above ground level or more require a conservation area notification to be submitted to the council’s planning department before pruning or removal.This must be in writing at least 6 weeks before you want to carry out the work. Failure to notify the council can result in enforcement action, even prosecution, of both the person undertaking the works and the person who instructed the works. There is an online form for contractors to complete. Obviously if your tree is of a smaller size than noted above there is no problem, but 75mm is not all that big! More details are on Islington Council’s ‘Trees in Conservation Areas’ page, and here’s a direct link to the online form.
If you’re wondering if you’re permitted to paint your brickwork the answer is straightforward: if it’s already painted then you can, if it’s not you can’t. Simple as that. The Council suggests we avoid vivid “modern” colours that might appear brash - there is nothing like the repainting of a property in bright colours to get some residents hot under the collar. There are many different examples of painted brickwork in the area, the most popular being a sludge colour presumably chosen to emulate brick, which some among us might consider to be as great an affront as the primary pastels, especially when combined with black- or white-painted pointing. External decorative plasterwork (which you are allowed to repaint) was originally painted off-white or in pastel colours, often to resemble stone. Front doors were usually painted in darker shades, the most popular late-Victorian colour being black. The Council can give advice about how best to remove paint from brickwork if necessary.