Conservation areas can be defined as "areas of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance".
The council is fortunate in having many fine buildings and areas that are distinguished by their architecture, landscape and history, creating an attractive environment that often is the product of several different eras. These areas are important examples of our social, cultural and aesthetic history and must be safeguarded from indiscriminate or ill-considered change.
These areas often contain listed buildings. However, it is not always enough to protect these buildings in isolation. Their surroundings and general environment are often of equal importance and conservation areas are intended to protect that environment. We have a responsibility to ensure that the character of these areas is not diminished in our lifetime.
There are 16 conservation areas in Caerphilly county borough:
- Bute Town
- Cwmcarn Memorial Park
- Newbridge Gateway
- Pontywaun Garden Suburbs
- Rhymney Town
- Ruperra Castle & Park
Conservation area boundaries (PDF 1.5mb)
Living in a conservation area
When you buy a property, the land charges search will reveal whether you live in a conservation area or not and whether an Article 4 Direction applies. Plans showing properties included within a conservation area can also be seen at Planning Reception at our offices at Pontllanfraith. If you own a property in an conservation area, you are strongly advised to check with planning if any additional controls apply before you carry out any works to your property.
The principle effects of conservation area designation are as follows:
- Conservation area consent is required for the demolition of any building or structure and the local authority or the National Assembly for Wales have the power to take enforcement action or instigate a criminal prosecution if consent is not obtained;
- Notice must be given to the local authority before works are carried out to any tree in the area and the local authority have 6 weeks to consider whether a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) should be made;
- Some minor forms of development that are normally 'permitted' without planning permission outside conservation areas may require consent within the designated area prior to works being undertaken. For example, stone cladding or positioning of satellite dishes;
- Extra publicity is given to planning applications affecting conservation areas and the planning authority must take into account the desirability of preserving or enhancing the character of the area when determining such applications;
- The local authority is under a general duty to ensure the preservation and enhancement of conservation areas and in particular to prepare proposals through a public consultation process to that end;
- The display of advertisements may be more restricted than elsewhere;
- Where land or property is used in a way that 'adversely affects the amenity of the area,' the local planning authority may use its powers to ensure owners undertake maintenance or clearance works to a derelict property, for example;
- Limited financial assistance may be available for the repair of the building in the area.
Very often, the cost of alterations or restoration to a property in a conservation area can be considerably more than that of a standard renovation because of the materials and specialist craftsmanship involved.
The council and other organisations offer discretionary grants towards schemes that make a positive contribution to the character of a conservation area as follows:
- Butetown Town Scheme Partnership
Caerphilly County Borough Council in partnership with Cadw have jointly agreed to allocate £40,000 per annum for an initial period of three years. The purpose of the scheme is to offer grant assistance towards the replacement of roofs within the defined area. The rate of grant will be 50% of the total costs of eligible works per householder up to a maximum of £10,000 per property, (inclusive of appropriate professional fees and VAT where applicable.
- Conservation Area Grants from Cadw
This discretionary grant is given towards external works to an historic building judged to make a significant contribution towards the preservation and enhancement of the character or appearance of a conservation area. The rate if grant is variable, although usually between 25% and 40%. Visit the Cadw website for further details and an application form.
- Grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund
The Heritage Lottery Fund offer grants from a variety of different initiatives including unlisted buildings within Conservation Areas that provide an important architectural contribution to the area or have significant historic merit. Visit the Heritage Lottery Fund website for further details.
If you require any further details on any of the grants outlined above, please contact our Conservation and Design Officer on 01495 235235.
Do I need permission to do work to a property in a conservation area?
If you live in a conservation area and intend to carry out works to your building or within the garden of your building, which you believe may effect the character of the area and you are unsure whether planning permission is required, please contact or Planning department prior to starting any works.
For example, the council should be consulted on any of the following proposed works:
- Alterations to the external appearance of properties
- Any works that will alter the external appearance of your property such as re-roofing, replacement windows etc.
- Altering or removing boundary walls or hedges
- Altering vehicle access or parking arrangements around the property.
Article 4 Directions
Directions authorised by Article 4 of the Town and Country planning (General permitted development) Order 1995 are used to remove certain permitted development rights. This is because although there are tighter controls over the level of permitted development within conservation areas than elsewhere, in many cases such control may still not be enough to safeguard the character of an area, particularly where there are a significant number of unlisted buildings in residential use.
Several small changes such as replacing original roof tiles with sympathetic modern materials, substituting traditional windows with uPVC or aluminium replacements and removing front boundary walls or hedges to provide off-street parking can cumulatively detract from the 'special' character of an area.
There are currently Article 4 Directions served in three conservation areas namely, Bute Town Pontywaun Garden Suburbs, Crosskeys and Rhymney Town. However, we are regularly monitoring this situation to consider the possibility of extending the use of Article 4 Directions to other Conservation Areas.
If you require any further information about Article 4 Directions, please contact our Conservation and Design Officer on 01495 235235.