Conservation Areas

Conservation Areas are areas of special architectural or historic interest which the Local Planning Authority designates as a Conservation Area and aims to preserve or enhance it.  It has control over the demolition of unlisted buildings and works to trees within the conservation area.

Local Planning Authorities are required to review their conservation areas from time to time and consider whether further areas should be designated or whether a designation should be revised or cancelled if an area no longer possesses the special interest which led to it being made a conservation area.

There are 10 conservation areas in West Somerset:

And of these Minehead, Stogursey and Watchet are Outstanding Heritage Settlements.

Living in a Conservation Area

The designation of a conservation area indicates the Council's positive commitment to these areas and its intention to preserve and enhance the quality of the environment. However, conservation areas are not open-air museums but living communities which must be allowed to change over time in order to remain vital and prosperous. Consequently the emphasis is to guide and control development rather than to prevent it. It is important, though, that all new development should be sympathetic to the special architectural and aesthetic qualities of the area, particularly in terms of scale, design, materials and space between buildings.  See our guide ‘Living in a Conservation Area’ located on the right hand side of this page.

Property Alterations

If you live in or run a business from a property in a conservation area you may need permission from the Council before making alterations such as cladding, inserting windows, installing satellite dishes and solar panels, adding conservatories or other extensions, laying paving or building walls.

The Council can change the types of alterations that need permission by making Article 4 Directions it is advisable to contact the Council before making arrangements to starting any work.


If you are thinking of cutting down a tree or doing any pruning work you must notify the Council 6 weeks in advance, you can do this using the application for tree works form. This is to give the Council time to assess the contribution the tree makes to the character of the conservation area and decide whether to make a Tree Preservation Order.


Demolition or substantial demolition of a building within a conservation area will usually require permission from the Council.