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Conservation areas

Certain parts of the city have been designated as conservation areas due to their special historic and architectural significance. There are currently 25 conservation areas in Leicester, each of unique character and quality.

What is a conservation area?

Conservation areas are those parts of the city that have been designated by the local planning authority due to their special historic and architectural interest. Designation of a conservation recognises the unique quality of an area as a whole, character of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance. It gives a wider protection than individual listing, with all features within the area, such as topography, urban layout, street furniture, open spaces, hard and soft landscaping, recognised as integral parts of its character and distinctiveness. In these areas, the preservation and enhancement of the existing townscape, alongside individual buildings, is of particular importance.

The 25 conservation areas in Leicester cover a variety of different urban environments, including the former villages, Victorian suburbs and Leicester’s medieval core.

We are committed to periodically review each conservation area and create or update the relevant character appraisals and management plans. The purpose of each appraisal is to define and record the special interest of the Conservation Area, including any features that contribute to its character and distinctiveness. The management plan sets out suggested actions to preserve and enhance the special character of the area through a management strategy. Careful consideration must be given to all elements identified within the conservation area appraisals and management plans.

For more information on individual conservation areas - use the links below:

How are conservation areas protected?

As detailed in Section 72 of the Planning (Listed Building and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, all development within a conservation area should preserve or enhance its character or appearance. To ensure that the special architectural and historic significance of these areas is preserved or enhanced, supplementary planning controls apply in addition to standard planning controls in conservation areas. These are outlined below.


Many buildings or structures within a conservation area cannot be demolished, either completely or in part, without our prior consent in writing via the granting of planning permission. Generally, the demolition of any building larger than 115 cubic metres requires planning permission. there are exceptions to this, and it is always best to contact us to check before undertaking any works.

Demolition of a boundary wall, fence or gate will require planning permission if it is more than 1 metre high, where fronting a highway/public open space, or more than 2 metres high elsewhere. If there is an additional Article 4 Direction, then demolition of a boundary feature of any height would need consent. 

Generally, there is a presumption in favour of retaining buildings and parts of buildings which make a positive contribution to the character and appearance of a conservation area. We will not grant planning permission for demolition until planning permission for the building’s replacement has been granted.

Minor development

If you live in a conservation area, you are required to obtain planning permission before making some changes which might normally be permitted outside a conservation area, in order to ensure that any alterations do not detract from the area's appearance. The following development therefore requires explicit planning permission within conservation areas:

  • cladding to the exterior of a house with stone, artificial stone, pebble dash, render, timber, plastic or tiles;
  • side extensions;
  • rear extensions of more than one storey;
  • roof extensions and dormer windows;
  • any building or enclosure within the grounds of a house required for a purpose incidental to the enjoyment of the dwelling (including swimming pools, garden sheds, garages and summerhouses), which is between a side elevation of a dwellinghouse and the property boundary;
  • construction of additional storeys
  • a container used for domestic heating purposes (for the storage of oil or liquid petroleum gas), which is between a side elevation of a dwelling house and the property boundary;
  • installation/alteration/replacement of a chimney, flue or soil and vent pipe on a dwellinghouse (where they front a highway and are on the principal or side elevation);
  • replacement of a historic roof covering that will materially affect the external appearance of the building, unless the property is a single dwelling;
  • paving over front gardens with non-permeable surfacing of an area greater than five square meters (n.b. this particular item requires an application for planning permission in any location).

In addition, various other works may require planning permission relating to the designation of Article 4 Directions. See the relevant section below for more information.

Satellite dishes and solar panels

In a conservation area, planning permission is required to install any satellite dishes on any wall, roof slope or chimney which both faces onto and is visible from a highway or on a building more than 15 metres in height. If a dish is to be installed within a conservation area, then the very highest standards of care in locating and installing the equipment will be required in order to protect the special character of such an area.

If your property is in a conservation area, planning permission will be required if solar panels are to be fitted on the front or side walls and they are visible from the highway. If solar panels are installed on a roof slope they should not be installed above the highest part of the roof (excluding the chimney) and should project no more than 200mm from the roof slope. Planning permission would also be required for solar panels on the wall of a building within the curtilage of a house that would be visible from a highway.


Trees are recognised as making an important contribution to the character of the local environment. Anyone proposing to cut down, prune, top or lop a tree in a conservation area which is not covered by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) has to give six weeks’ notice in writing to the Local Planning Authority prior to carrying out any works to the tree. The notification should include a description of the tree and any works to be carried out. This applies to surgery works or felling of any tree with a trunk over 75mm in diameter measured 1.5 metres above ground level. The authority can then consider the contribution the tree makes to the character of the area, and if necessary, make a TPO to protect it.

Few exceptions, when the written notice is not required exist:

  • when working on trees with stem diameters of less than 75mm (measured at 1.5 metres from ground level);
  • If the works being carried out are to help promote the growth of other trees, then trees with stem diameters of less than 100mm (at 1.5 metres) may be removed or pruned;
  • works which are exempt under the TPO regulations also apply, including removal of dead wood, dying or dangerous trees.

However, the owners should provide us with at least five working days’ notice prior to cutting down any tree which the owners deem to be dead, dying or dangerous, unless such works are required in an emergency. Carrying out works without giving notice is an offence. It is the tree owner's responsibility to provide proof that the tree was indeed dead, dying or dangerous in the case of challenge. It is always advisable to request an inspection by staff from our Trees and Woodlands Team prior to carrying out any tree felling operations within a conservation area.

To contact the Trees and Woodland Team please see our Trees and woodlands section.


Under the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements)

Regulations 2007, certain advertisements are 'permitted' without the need for express consent. In Conservation Areas, there are additional restrictions that require an application to be submitted on:

  • illuminated advertisements;
  • flag advertisements;
  • advertisements on hoardings;
  • captive balloon advertisements;
  • advertisements on telephone kiosks.

Detailed guidance is available at GOV.UK.

Flats and commercial properties

Flats and commercial properties do not have the permitted development rights available to other residential properties. As such, many of the items listed above may already require planning permission and the conservation area status simply provides an additional consideration in the assessment of any related planning applications.

Additional protection (Article 4 Directions)

In some conservation areas, where a need for stricter planning regulations has been identified, permitted development rights have been restricted further by the introduction of Article 4 Directions. In such areas, planning consent may be required for some otherwise permitted external alterations.

Please note that different Article 4 Directions apply to different conservation areas. The imposed restrictions can either apply to all external surfaces and the entirety of curtilage of relevant properties or to elevations and spaces fronting public highways and open spaces only.

Some areas in the city are also covered by a different Article 4 Direction, which restricts the otherwise permitted conversion of properties into a house in multiple occupation (HMO). In these areas, a planning consent is necessary to change the use of any dwellinghouse to an HMO. The two different Article 4 Directions are not mutually exclusive and may co-exist in some conservation areas.

Always check what Article 4 Direction applies to your property. For more information please visit the Article 4 Directions webpage. Article 4 Directions can also be viewed on our mapping system accessed through a link provided on top of the page.

Applying for a permission

In dealing with any applications for planning permission within conservation areas, we will consider the effect of the proposed development upon the character and appearance of the area. As a general rule, we will not support changes of use that harm the character of the Conservation Area.

Applicants are required to describe the significance of all assets affected by development, proportionate to the proposal, and provide sufficient detail to enable the impact of the proposed development on the character of the conservation area to be assessed. This should generally be in a form of a separate heritage statement.

Other items need to be submitted as part of an application. For more information please consult our Planning Validation List. Please make sure your application includes all the necessary information, or it will be judged as invalid.

Further advice

Before commencing any external work within a conservation area, property owners, occupiers and other interested parties should determine whether planning permission or any other consent is required. If you proceed with the works without consent you risk prosecution and/or being fined.

Even if it is the works are permitted development and a planning application is not required you should make sure that any changes you make to your property through repairs, maintenance or alterations, are in keeping with the character of the building and the area. You should take care to match original materials and methods of construction and avoid damaging or removing features of historic or architectural value. Repairs of original and traditional features that contribute to the special significance of the area should be pursued whenever feasible, with replacement considered as an option of last resort.

We offer small grants for external repairs and reinstatement works to historic buildings in conservation areas. For more information please consult the Historic building grant scheme application pack

Unsympathetic alterations, such as removal of front boundary treatments or replacement of traditional timber windows and doors with poorly proportioned uPVC units, may not only spoil the appearance of a conservation area, but significantly reduce the value of your property. Some inappropriate modern alterations can even undermine the preservation of historic properties into the future, as incompatible with the traditional methods of construction.

Further information

For further advice on development in conservation areas please visit:


If you are in any doubt as to whether or not planning permission is necessary, please contact us using the details noted below: