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Conservation Areas

The borough has a wealth of built heritage in its towns, villages and hamlets; each, with its combination of buildings, spaces and landscape creates a strong and unique character.

In recognition of this, and to protect their individual character, many of these settlements are designated as conservation areas. There are twenty-five in total.

Whilst most conservation areas are confined to the historic core of villages, larger areas include centres such as Royal Tunbridge Wells, Southborough, and Cranbrook.

Designation of an area as a conservation area is about managing change positively, by respecting the historic environment that has been inherited by us, understanding what is special about it, and using this understanding to encourage excellence when adding new layers to it.

Locations

Open our heritage map to search for and view the locations of conservation areas in Tunbridge Wells.

St. James Area, Boundary Features

The Council has made a direction under Article 4(2) of the Town and Country (General Permitted Development) Order which removes certain permitted development rights for the following properties in the St. James area: 1 to 67 (odd) St James Road, 2 to 68 (even) St James Road, 60 to 70 (even) Albion Road, 19A and 21 Granville Road, 1 to 65 (odd) Beulah Road, 2 to 60 (even) Beaulah Road, 52A St James Park, 1 to 9 Georgia Place and Church House, Ferndale.  This direction means that planning permission is required for the provision of a hard surface, usually to the front of the house, or the erection, construction, maintenance, improvement or alteration of a gate, fence, wall or any other means of enclosure that faces a highway, no matter what the height.

Consents

If you live in a conservation area you should check what permissions may be required for any development proposals, including works to trees.

Please check our Development in Conservation Areas and Trees pages in our Planning for Householders section.

Pre-application advice is available if you would like to have an informal response from the Council before submitting an application relating to works in a conservation area.

Duties

The council, together with other agencies and the local community, are the stewards of these important historic assets so that future generations may also be able to enjoy them.

Residents and business people who live and work in such areas take responsibility for maintaining their properties and their gardens, and it is these combined elements which help to maintain the character and appearance of conservation areas.

Research shows that people place a high value on the historic environment – the places in which we live are in many cases layered with years and years of human activity. Each generation inherits this sense of place and should make decisions about the future based on the historic context of this inheritance.

Local authorities are given powers to designate conservation areas as a way of recognising their special character, whether it is architectural, historic, or different combinations of both. It is a celebration of unique characteristics of a neighbourhood or place, which seeks to maintain this without trying to preserve it unchanged. Conservation Area Appraisals are a first step to this in clearly identifying what it is about the character or appearance that should be preserved, but also what could be managed and enhanced, and then setting out the means by which that objective is to be pursued.

The council's role also is to ensure that development preserves or enhances the historic and architectural character and appearance of conservation areas by promoting good design and applying additional controls over development where appropriate.

It is the aim of the Council to involve residents in the appraisal exercises and to promote community-led appraisal work where possible. Historic England provides detailed guidance on this in their 'Conservation Areas' and 'Your Home' web pages.

Energy efficiency and historic buildings

Historic buildings, including listed buildings, are almost always able to accommodate appropriate measures to make them more energy efficient. The Council has produced a guidance note which can be downloaded from this page with further advice on the various measures that can be taken, and what may need consent.

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