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Conservation areas

The technical definition of a conservation area is 'an area of special architectural interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance' (Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990). There are currently 37 Conservation Areas designated by the National Park Authority or its predecessor rural district council.

There are significant benefits to conservation area status, it is in essence a recognition of the individual character of a place. Whilst it is not a barrier to change, Conservation Area designation helps to ensure that future changes respect the area’s character and appearance and enhance the local environment.

If you live in or run a business from a property in a conservation area you may need permission from the Authority before making alterations such as cladding, inserting windows, installing satellite dishes and solar panels, adding conservatories or other extensions, laying paving or building walls. It is advisable to contact the Authority before making arrangements to start any work. Planning permission is required for the demolition of building within a conservation area.

If you are planning to cut down a tree or doing any pruning work inside a Conservation Area you must notify the Authority 6 weeks in advance. This is to provide time to assess the contribution the tree makes to the character of the conservation area and assess whether  the works would damage this.

Most conservation areas are centred on towns or villages although three are unusually extensive and cover areas along the Settle Carlisle railway and extensive parts of Swaledale and Littondale:

  • the Settle-Carlisle Railway Conservation Area (red line); 
  • the Swaledale and Arkengarthdale Barns and Walls Conservation Area (grey shading with Gunnerside in its centre); 
  • Littondale Barns and Walls Conservation Area (grey shading to the left of Starbotton).  .

Map showing Conservation Areas 

Please take a look at our interactive map

As a local planning authority we are required to designate conservation areas, having regard to views of the local community and then keep their boundaries under review thereafter. 

Every conservation area has a distinctive character which has been shaped over time by its natural and man-made surroundings. Most of the Conservation areas in the National Park have been appraised to evaluate and record their special interest and inform opportunities for beneficial change.

Conservation area appraisals produced since 2010 also include management proposals for their preservation and enhancement. We encourage communities and stakeholders to take care of their conservation areas and the built historic environment they live or work in. The Authority maintains a small budget to fund enhancement works to Conservation Areas.

Click on the links below to download our adopted conservation area appraisals:

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