London's rich history and culture draws thousands of tourists to the city every year; but for some people, simply visiting a historical site every now and then is not enough, and having to fly hundreds of miles in order to do so is just an unnecessary inconvenience. Some people want a piece of history all to themselves. If you're that kind of person, you might like the idea of living in a conservation area. But there are a few things you need to know before you make the move.
While it may be a privilege to live on a street with so many stories to tell, there's a responsibility that comes with it. If you buy property on a heritage site, you have to participate in the preservation of the site. So, you can't just merrily go about the business of reconstructing and renovating your new home to suit your vision. If a property is located in a conservation area, every aspect of that property is protected, down to the very last tree.
Firstly, what is a conservation area?
It's an area of land that has been placed under government protection, usually because it's the location of an important historic site, or because it contains buildings of historical significance due to their architecture. This protection means that no alterations can be without the express permission of the relevant authorities.
England has around 8,000 conservation areas. Their locations range from major urban centres like London, to more remote rural settings like fishing or mining villages. Whether it is the presence of a medieval church, Victorian architecture, or a historically significant railway link, England has no shortage of historical and cultural landmarks worthy of preservation.
The local councils, English Heritage and Secretary of State for National Heritage all have the power to establish a conservation area. The buildings in that area then fall under the protection of legislation such as Article 4 Directions, which requires that special permissions be obtained before any renovations can be made to properties within the designated space.
How do you know whether a property you own or are interested in owning falls within the boundaries of a conservation area? The Local Planning Authority (LPA) website provides an excellent resource for information regarding conservation sites, the reason for their existence and the specific legislation that governs them.
Buying properties in conservation areas
Surely such restrictions put off any potential buyers?
It would appear not. In fact, research conducted by the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), in collaboration with English Heritage, found that being located within a conservation area only enhances the appeal of a property. For example:
- Properties in conservation areas sell for 23 per cent more on average than other properties.
- This number falls by 4-5% for properties in conservation areas that are deemed to be “at risk”, indicating that the laws protecting properties in conservation areas are instrumental in maintaining the economic value of those properties, as well as their cultural value.
- Their value rises faster than other properties, and they sell for higher prices. This remains the case even after factors such as location and property type are taken into account.
It's clear that properties located in conservation areas are a viable investment, with the provision of any renovations being subject to the approval of the state doing little to diminish their value in the eyes of buyers. After all, what value could any alterations give these properties that could possibly exceed the cultural value they possess by simply remaining as they are?
Interested in purchasing property in a conservation area? Don't hesitate to contact us at Tepilo to find something suitable in an area that strikes your fancy.