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Listed buildings and conservation

If you live in a listed building or a conservation area there are additional planning and building controls you need to be aware of.

Listed buildings

A listed building is a structure that has special architectural or historic interest. All listed buildings can be found on the National Heritage List maintained by Historic England.

If you want to demolish, alter or extend a listed building you will need to apply for listed building consent. Visit Planning portal: listed building consent for more details on how to apply.

You will need to apply for listed building consent if:

  • You want to demolish a listed building. 
  • You want to alter or extend a listed building in a manner which would affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest.
  • You may also need it for any works to separate buildings within the grounds of a listed building.

It's a criminal offence to carry out work which needs listed building consent without obtaining it beforehand. 

Works in conservation areas

There are 93 conservation areas within County Durham that are designated of being of special architectural or historic interest where the character and appearance should be preserved or enhanced.

If you live in a conservation area then additional planning controls may apply. These include:

  • Works to extend buildings, clad external walls, alter a roof, insert dormer windows or put up satellite dishes.
  • The demolition of almost any building
  • Work to trees including felling, topping and lopping
  • The display of signs or adverts which may have a significant visual impact

Find out more about County Durham's conservation areas.

Need advice?

If you think that you may need planning permission or listed building consent, we offer a pre-application service which offers professional advice on the likely acceptability of development proposals, including whether planning permission is required or not and general advice as necessary. Our pre-application service will help you find out if your proposal is likely to be acceptable without the expense of making a formal application. If we feel we could not support a subsequent application, we will tell you why and where possible outline any solutions or recommendations to overcome our concerns.

For all other enquiries regarding Conservation Areas or Listed Buildings please contact the Contact Design and conservation for further advice.

Protected trees and hedgerows

We have the power to protect important trees by making a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) and they are also protected if they are in a conservation area. Hedgerows are also protected and it is against the law to destroy most countryside hedgerows without prior permission from us.

Find out more about protected trees and hedgerows.

Need advice?

If you need protected tree or hedgerow advice for your proposals, please contact us at landscape and aboriculture. 

Concerned about works which are underway or have taken place?

You can report a problem to our planning enforcement team.

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