Policy HE6 Conservation Areas

There is a presumption in favour of the conservation of individual historic buildings and the character of development within the wider historic environment of conservation areas. Development proposals in a conservation area will be assessed with the aim of enhancing its character and only where an opportunity to enhance does not exist should the lesser test of preserving be applied.

New Build or Replacement Buildings

Planning permission will only be granted for a new or a replacement building in a conservation area or which impact on its setting where it meets the General Policy, accords with other provisions of the LDP and all the following criteria are met:

  1. the overall character and appearance of the conservation area is preserved or where possible enhanced;
  2. the height, scale, form, massing, alignment, materials and finishes respect the characteristics of adjoining buildings, the distinct character and setting displayed within the conservation area, and the integrity of wider setting of the conservation area;
  3. the plot layout and site density reflect and respond positively to existing buildings and the distinct characteristics of the conservation area;
  4. key public views within, into and out of the conservation area are protected;
  5. it does not result in environmental problems such as noise, nuisance or disturbance;
  6. trees and other landscape features contributing to the character or appearance of the conservation area are protected and/or integrated in an appropriate way into the design and layout of the development; and
  7. the development has regard to published supplementary planning guidance such as a Conservation Area Design Guide.
Alteration, Extensions and Change of Use

Planning permission will only be granted for alterations and extensions and/or change of use applications within conservation areas where criterion a) above is met. The following additional criteria shall also be required to be met unless the applicant can demonstrate why they are inappropriate with regard to the character and appearance of the Conservation Area:

  1. extensions shall be subservient to the existing building with regard to height, scale, form, massing, alignment, materials and finishes;
  2. the design should incorporate wherever possible visual characteristics or features reflective of the existing building and surrounding area;
  3. the proposal makes use of materials and appropriate detailing sympathetic with the existing building and/or setting; and
  4. the proposal will not result in the detrimental loss of visual gaps between the existing building and the site boundary.
Demolition within a Conservation Area

There will be a presumption in favour of retaining non-listed buildings in conservation areas. A development proposal involving the demolition of an unlisted building in a conservation area will only be permitted in exceptional circumstances where it is demonstrated that the existing building makes no material contribution to the character and appearance of the area and it is demonstrated that the new building enhances the character or appearance of the area.

Where it is determined that the unlisted building does make a positive material contribution to the character or appearance of the area, Policy HE4 Demolition of a Listed Building shall apply.

Where conservation area consent for demolition is granted this will be conditional on prior agreement for the redevelopment of the site and appropriate arrangements for recording the building before its demolition.

Justification and Amplification

There are five designated Conservation Areas within Mid and East Antrim as shown in Appendix J:

  • Carnlough
  • Carrickfergus
  • Gracehill
  • Glenarm
  • Whitehead

Conservation Areas are legally defined as areas of 'special architectural or historic interest’, and in managing development within these areas the guiding principle is to afford special regard to the desirability of enhancing its character or appearance where an opportunity to do so exists, or to preserve its character or appearance where an opportunity to enhance does not arise. The special character of our conservation areas relates to the quality and interest of an area as a whole, rather than just individual buildings.

All development proposals in conservation areas will be required to be of a high quality and sensitive design and be based on a careful consideration of issues such as height, scale, form, massing, alignment, materials and finishes. Proposals will also be expected to adhere to guidance set out in any relevant Conservation Area Design Guide.

Where outline applications are submitted for development proposals within a conservation area, information on matters such as scale, massing, materials/finishes, access and parking will also be required to ensure that a full assessment of the impact of development proposals can be undertaken.

New or Replacement Buildings

A high quality standard of design will be expected for all proposals for new or replacement buildings within or adjoining conservation areas. Such buildings should be appropriate and sympathetic to the historical character and/or the setting of the conservation area and must therefore fully adhere to all of the policy criteria. Where appropriate, good quality contemporary design will be acceptable, provided it draws upon the heritage values associated with the particular conservation area. If a traditional approach is considered more appropriate, the architectural detail, proportions and materials should more closely reflect local distinctiveness.

Special care is also needed in the location and design of development proposals which are visually linked to a conservation area. Inappropriate development outside a conservation area can have a detrimental effect on the character and historical setting of the area. In such cases new or replacement buildings will be required to respect the character and appearance of the adjacent conservation area and not compromise important views in to and out of the area.

Alteration, Extensions and Change of Use

Proposals for the alteration, extension and change of use of buildings in a conservation area will be supported where they are sensitive to the existing building and are in keeping with the character and appearance of the particular conservation area. Extensions should be subsidiary to the existing building use appropriate materials and not result in the detrimental loss of visual gaps between the existing building and the site boundary.

Demolition within a Conservation Area

The Council will operate a presumption in favour of retaining any building which makes a positive contribution to the character or appearance of a conservation area. Where demolition is proposed the onus rests with the applicant to provide evidence that the building makes no material contribution to the character or appearance of the area. In determining proposals for demolition of unlisted buildings Council will take account of their contribution to the architectural or historic interest of the area, and also to wider impacts on the surroundings and on the conservation area as a whole. In cases where it is determined by Council that the existing building does make a positive contribution to the character or appearance of a conservation area Council will have regard to the same broad criteria used when considering applications for the demolition of listed buildings as prescribed in Policy HE4 Demolition of a Listed Building.

Applicants are strongly advised to consider the submission of a PAD application at an early stage.

In cases where permission is granted for demolition, conditions will be imposed:

  • requiring the redevelopment of the site to be based on previously agreed detailed proposals; and
  • prohibiting the demolition of the building until contracts have been signed for the approved redevelopment of the site.

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