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What is a Conservation Area?

Garden ServicesBuilding in a conservation area.

A conservation area is an area acknowledged by the local authority as one that necessitates exclusive attention to protect its social, historic or architectural character.

Within a conservation area not all buildings are automatically listed, however consent may be required to undertake works to them which may impact the character of the area.

Section 69 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 gives local planning authorities the power to designate Conservation Areas, which are defined as ‘areas of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance’.

Within a conservation area the council has additional controls in relation to demolition, minor developments and trees.

  • Demolition – conservation area consent is required to fully demolish a building, partial demolition of walls/fences may also require permission. Therefore it is advisable to check with the Council before undertaking any works.
  • Minor Developments – planning permission is required for modifications to buildings that would usually be permitted for example, inserting dormer windows or installing a satellite dish visible from the street.
  • Trees – Notice to the council is required if you are proposing to cut down or top a tree, whether or not it is covered by a tree preservation order.

For further information concerning how to apply to do work on your home if you’re living in conservation area, please visit the government website

Garden fence repairs – Who is responsible?

boundary disputes garden fencesGarden fence repairs Cardiff, Pontypridd, Llantrisant and South Wales.

Many customers often contact us with regard to broken fences and walls unsure of whose responsibility it is to carry out repairs.

Knowing what fences and garden walls you are responsible for can prevent disputes and even legal wrangles.

The obvious place to start is always your deeds to your property.  On modern properties there is often a plan drawn to scale which shows the boundaries.  The plan registered at HM Land Registry is a scale plan.  Sometimes at the Land Registry is also the plan on the original purchase deed.  The plans can be obtained direct from the Land Registry (you can obtain a copy of your title deeds) or alternately you can ask your solicitor/conveyancer.

Once the plan is received you can see if there are “T”s on any of the boundaries.  A “T” shown on the inside of the boundary line indicates the ownership and responsibility to maintain – be it e.g. a wall or a fence.  If the “T” is matched by another “T” on the boundary so it looks like a “H”, this shows the boundary to be a party wall/fence.  This means joint responsibility for the maintenance of the wall/fence.

home owners repairsThat is the easy part because if, as is often the case, the deeds and plan do not give an indication of ownership you are then reliant on “presumptions” (and of course presumptions can be rebutted if the facts show otherwise).  For example, with regard to a wall, the boundary is likely to be on the far side of the garden wall because naturally it is presumed that the person who erected the wall would build it on his/her own land with its farthest side being the boundary.

As regards fences, the presumption is any posts will be on the owner’s side.  Therefore he/she is responsible for maintaining the fence.

For more information on this matter visit the Homeowners Alliance website.