What is a Conservation Area?
Much of Muswell Hill and surrounding locations are part of conservation areas. A conservation area is a place of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance. The Local Authority normally makes the designation. Conservation areas are subject to additional planning controls which may apply to energy efficiency improvements or renewable energy projects that you are considering. The information below summarises guidance from Haringey Council.
Is my property in a Conservation Area?
If you want to know whether a property is in a conservation area there is a Haringey online mapping system which will give you details of the property. Once you’ve filled in the address and post code of your property the mapping system will tell you if it is in a Conservation Area and other useful details.
There is also a map of all of Haringey’s Conservation Areas which can be found at the following link: Haringey Conservation Areas Map. The map shows the boundaries of each conservation area, their dates of designation and the dates and boundaries of each extension or modification. It also shows which conservation areas have Article 4 Directions (see below).
A comprehensive list of conservation areas and individual maps of each conservation area are available on Haringey’s List of Conservation Areas page.
What are the effects of Conservation Area Designation?
Conservation areas are subject to additional planning controls under the planning legislation.
For example, you may need to apply for planning permission for alterations or extensions to a dwelling that would not normally require planning permission outside of conservation areas.
- Extensions over 50 percent of the total area of the curtilage; up to 4 metres beyond the original rear wall and 4 metres in height
- Roof alteration / enlargement and dormer windows
- Erection or construction of a porch outside any external door
- Installation, alteration or replacement of a chimney, flue, soil or vent pipe
One of the biggest impacts of living in a conservation area is what changes you can make to your windows. Haringey Council strongly advise owners of buildings within conservation areas to retain and repair their original timber or metal windows, as these give buildings their special architectural character and add value to the appearance of a conservation area. Window frames may appear to be beyond repair, but on closer inspection only need limited repairs and repainting. If a window frame is so badly decayed that it has to be replaced, this should be carried out using materials and designs that identically replicate the originals.
Draughty and poorly fitting windows can easily be overhauled and fitted with pile perimeter seals that eliminate rattles, heat loss and dust ingress. For further information please contact Haringey Council’s Design and Conservation home page.
Please note that the detail design and fabrication of replacement windows must be to an increased thermal insulation performance standard in accordance with Part L of the Building Regulations which come under the remit of Building Control, an entirely separate service within Haringey Council. However, you can apply to the Building Control Team to get exemption from providing double glazing in any old buildings in a conservation area because it would affect their character and appearance. Other ways of increasing heat loss such as draught proofing of existing sashes, extra loft insulation and secondary glazing are acceptable alternatives, together with the use of any existing timber shutters and closing blinds and curtains at night. This would save money and retain original features.
If replacement windows are necessary Haringey recommend the use of authentic materials and detail design to harmonise with the original. Accordingly they do not recommend the use of UPVC replacement windows in conservation areas as they are not sustainable and are environmentally damaging. The production of UPVC requires the use of hazardous chemicals, releases harmful additives and creates toxic wastes. These are also released in the eventual disposal of the windows which at present only have a life of about 10 to 15 years.
Discrete purpose made high performance secondary glazing units are the Council’s preferred option to providing thermal and acoustic insulation to historic buildings.
Slim double glazing units are now available that are suitable for use in many original window frames without the need for replacements. These can have an overall thickness of as little as 12mm with a gas filled cavity and 5mm perimeter seal designed to fit into Georgian style windows to maintain the visually slim glazing bars. For further information please contact the Design and Conservation home page.
What about other energy saving works and renewables?
Haringey provide a useful summary here, which covers planning permission requirements in Conservation areas for solar renewables, wall insulation and other energy saving measures.
Article 4 Directions
Additional controls are applied to minor developments within certain conservation areas in the form of Article 4 Directions. These directions can control small-scale change that can gradually erode the character of a conservation area, such as alterations to windows and doors or the creation of car parking space at the front of a property. Where an Article 4 Direction is applied, planning permission would be required for specified developments.
There is currently one area in Muswell Hill covered by Article 4 Directions:
- Rookfield (see the map of the Article 4 area)
Determining Planning Applications in Conservation Areas
In conservation areas Haringey’s development control officers will deal with applications for planning permission or conservation area consent with input and support from Design and Conservation Officers. Applications will be subject to the usual time limits and procedures of any planning application.
Applications are considered against conservation policies and can be refused on conservation grounds alone. Permission or consent should only be granted if a proposal enhances or preserves the character or appearance of the Conservation Area. As with a planning application outside a conservation area, an applicant maintains the right to appeal against a refusal for planning permission, or against any conditions attached to a permission or consent.
If you live in a conservation area, Haringey’s Design and Conservation Officers can provide you with pre-application advice regarding conservation issues that may arise during the application process. This service is available free of charge for householders and for applicants with proposals of less than two units. Contact details are available from the Design and Conservation home page.