Conservation area architects
London architectural and heritage guide
Inspiration and ideas
Most of our favourite projects are in conservation areas across London, we love the design challenge that comes with the beauty and the restrictions of the historic environments our projects become part of.
George Omalianakis, BA (Hons) B.Arch Pg Dip ARB RIBA is a Member of the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), registered with the Architects Registration Board (ARB) and an RIBA Conservation Registrant which means he has expertise, knowledge and skills in working with historic buildings and conservation areas.
This is why we take real pride in our work as conservation area architects.
- We will guide you through the conservation area rules,
- We will assess the feasibility of your project given the distinct historic character of your conservation area,
- We will help you create a design that is sensitive and specific to your conservation area, and
- We will help you obtain conservation area planning permission for your project.
Our architectural services include the preparation of a conservation area feasibility study for larger developments or a free conservation area consultation advice for home extensions and house alterations.
Below we have hand-picked some of our projects to lend architectural inspiration and design ideas for your conservation area home project.
Conservation area architect guide – Design aspirations and key considerations
As your conservation area architects, and in order to assess what might be possible for your project, we need to develop a deep understanding of the character of your area.
Context is key when it comes to projects in conservation areas and to start with we will review the Conservation Area Appraisal. This is a document prepared by your London local authority to identify key characteristics, materials, features and aspects of your area that require preserving and / or enhancing.
This assessment will inform our architectural proposals and we will seek to come up with a design that sensitively responds to the character of your property and to views from and to the wider conservation area your property is part of.
According to Historic England – Identification and Designation of Heritage Asset and Conservation Areas:
“Local planning authorities are obliged to designate as conservation areas any parts of their own area that are of special architectural or historic interest, the character and appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance.
Local planning authorities also have a duty to review past designations from time to time to determine if any further parts of their area should be conservation areas.
Conservation area designation introduces a general control over the demolition of unlisted buildings and provides a basis for planning policies whose objective is to conserve all aspects of character or appearance, including landscape and public spaces, that define an area’s special interest.
There are approximately 10,000 conservation areas in England.
Conservation areas vary greatly in their nature and character. They range from the centres of historic towns and cities, through fishing and mining villages, 18th and 19th century suburbs, model housing estates, country houses set in historic parks, to historic transport links and their environs, such as stretches of canal.
The special character of these areas does not come only from the quality of their buildings. Elements such as the historic layout of roads, paths and boundaries and characteristic building and paving materials all contribute to the familiar and cherished local scene.
Designation of a conservation area gives broader protection than the listing of individual buildings. All the features, listed or otherwise, within the area, are recognised as part of its character. Conservation area designation is the means of recognising the importance of all these factors and of ensuring that planning decisions address the quality of the landscape in its broadest sense.”
Conservation area architect guide – Types and options for your home project
We have tried to answer a few Frequently Asked Questions and we hope we can give you some general answers about the types of development possible and the options for your home project.
When you contact us with details of your project we will assess your requirements, we will review the specific conservation area appraisals for your area as prepared by your London local authority, we will provide you with specific advice about what the planners and conservation officer are likely to accept for your project, and we will explain how we can help you obtain conservation area planning consent as your expert conservation area architects.
• What is the conservation area?
According to Historic England conservation areas “…exist to manage and protect the special architectural and historic interest of a place – in other words, the features that make it unique. Every local authority in England has at least one conservation area and there are around 10,000 in England.”
• Where can I find conservation area design guidance for my project?
Your London local authority has prepared an appraisal document for each of the conservation areas in the Borough. Search online for your planning department, look under the conservation area section, and find the relevant appraisal for your conservation area.
• Should I engage with my local authority before making an application?
Unless you appoint a specialist conservation area architect with previous experience of dealing with your local planners and conservation officer then yes, you should definitely contact your local planning authority and check the options for obtaining pre-application planning advice for your home project. The duty planning officer will give you an indication about what is likely to be approved and a few pointers about the information you will need to put together, to include plans, statements and specifications, to achieve a successful planning submission.
• House extensions in conservation areas – Is it possible to extend my house in a conservation area?
Most likely, yes. When it comes to residential extensions in conservation areas most planning regulations are the same when compared to similar properties outside conservation area boundaries. However there are some additional restrictions to the type, size, scale, sitting and materials of any extensions and to how any extensions relate to the host property and how they are viewed from the wider area.
This varies from conservation area to conservation area and the key thing to remember is that your home extension needs to be designed in a way that recognises its immediate and wider historic context and that it positively contributes to the quality of the surrounding built environment.
• New builds and developments in conservation areas – Will it be possible to build a new house, or to build a residential / commercial unit, or convert a single family dwelling to flats, or amalgamate residential units to a larger single family dwelling in a conservation area?
Our architectural services include the preparation of a conservation area feasibility study for larger developments in conservation areas.
This includes the exploration of the project types that are appropriate for your property or land, the submission of sketch design proposals to the Council to obtain pre-application planning advice from the planners and the conservation officer, the preparation of rough building cost estimates, and obtaining market valuations from local estate agents.
Through this feasibility process we will assess if we can create a new residential or commercial unit as part of your property or land in a conservation area, and we will also assess the type of development that is likely to obtain planning approval.
As part of this process you will develop a detailed understanding of the various planning requirements, the potential costs and the overall financials which will allow you to make an informed decision on whether and how best to pursue obtaining conservation area planning consent for your development project.
• Planning applications in conservation areas – What do I need planning approval for in conservation areas?
Pretty much all types of development, including demolitions, in conservation areas require prior conservation area planning approval.
This includes alterations and extensions that are otherwise typically considered under Permitted Development; London local planning authorities tend to apply Article 4 Directions that restrict most of Permitted Development Rights in all conservation areas.
This means you will probably need planning permission for alterations including the replacing your windows, building pretty much anything in proximity to trees (trees tend to have Tree Protection Orders when in conservation areas and they are protected from works to them and near them), and carrying out any external alterations to your property.
Remember that irrespective of the alterations you would like to carry out, working with an architect who is experienced in working to the restrictions of conservation areas, is a great way to improve the chances of having your application approved.
• How can I check if I am in a conservation area?
You can look online for a copy of the appraisal of your conservation area as prepared by your local planning authority, and then search through the maps that accompany the appraisal to see if your property is within the boundaries of the designated conservation area.
Some London local planning authority websites will allow you to carry out an online search if you enter your postcode and address details. If ever in doubt please email your local authority planning department with your address and ask them to confirm if your property is in a conservation area or not, and then ask them to forward you a copy of the relevant conservation area appraisal document.
• Are all properties in a Conservation area Listed?
No. Conservation areas often include a larger number of nationally and locally Listed properties however not every property in a Conservation Area is Listed.
For more information on Listed Building please see our Listed Buildings architects guide and please search through The National Heritage List for England to find if your property is nationally Listed in England.
BOROUGH SPECIFIC ARCHITECT AND PLANNING GUIDES FOR YOUR HOME PROJECT
Your local Council will have in place design and planning requirements for your home project and you will need to obtain planning approval for a wide range of extensions and alterations to your property.
When you get in touch we will offer you detailed advice about what is likely that your Council will approve and in the meantime we have prepared the following architectural and planning guides that include extracts of the relevant planning policy and examples of our projects in our Borough.
Barnet residential architect and planning guide, Camden residential architect and planning guide, Enfield residential architect and planning guide, Hackney residential architect and planning guide, Hammersmith Fulham residential architect and planning guide, Haringey residential architect and planning guide, Hounslow residential architect and planning guide, Islington residential architect and planning guide, Kensington and Chelsea Conservation architects, residential and planning guide, Lambeth residential architect and planning guide, Lewisham residential architect and planning guide, Newham residential architect and planning guide, Redbridge residential architect and planning guide, Richmond residential architect and planning guide, Tower Hamlets residential architect and planning guide, Waltham Forest residential architect and planning guide, Wandsworth residential architect and planning guide, Westminster residential architect and planning guide
See our guides for ideas, inspiration and architectural advice for your home project.
Side extensions London residential guide, Rear extensions London residential guide, Kitchen extensions London residential guide, Roof extensions London residential guide, Residential renovations London guide, Mansard roof extensions London residential guide, Contemporary extensions London residential guide, Flat extensions London residential guide, Garden flat extensions London residential guide, House extensions London residential guide
We have prepared a guide on the type of Architectural plans you will need for your home project, and another guide for Terraced house extension plans that includes advice on detached and semi-detached properties as well.
See what we can do for you.
Introducing GOAStudio London residential architecture limited
“George Omalianakis Architecture Studio – GOAStudio London residential architecture” was set up in 2009 to provide architectural services and assist home owners with their residential projects across London.
George Omalianakis is a multi-award winning chartered architect with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), registered with the Architects Registration Board (ARB), and has extensive experience in working on a variety of residential, commercial and educational sectors.
Which? magazine residential expert and contributor. Ideal Home magazine residential expert and contributor. Member of the Green Register of Construction professionals.
We are creative problem solvers who will deal with any construction, planning, and design issue relevant to your home project.
GOAStudio London residential architecture limited, 86-90 Paul Street, EC2A 4NE, Hackney
t: 0203 984 3005