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Cambridge City Council

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Coronavirus update from the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning service

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Development in conservation areas

We draw up appraisals on conservation areas with the help of the people who live and work in them.

These appraisals contain guidance to protect the best features, and to improve the less attractive parts.

The special character of conservation areas means that the control of development is stricter than in other areas. This means that:

  • new buildings and the spaces around them must preserve or improve the character of the area
  • the siting, scale, height, form, details and building materials will all need to be carefully chosen
  • outline planning applications will not be accepted as it is not possible to judge if the new building will fit into its surroundings.

Planning applications that affect conservation areas must be advertised to enable people to comment on the proposals.

Planning permission

In addition to normal planning controls, the following rules apply within conservation areas:

Article 4 Direction

The Accordia Estate

On 21 February 2014, the Council published an Article 4 Direction on the Accordia Estate. This means that certain works to dwellinghouses which are generally permitted development would now require a planning application. These works are:

  • The infill or enclosure of a recessed entrance or an open terrace area
  • Insertion of a new window opening
  • Removal of a projecting part of a dwelling house
  • The recladding of any part of a building in a material of a different type or appearance to the original
  • The provision within the curtilage of a dwellinghouse of a hard surface
  • The alteration or removal of a chimney
  • The erection or construction of a gate, fence, wall or other means of enclosure
  • The painting of the exterior of any building or work

This came into force on 23 February 2015. The Direction can be seen here Article 4 Direction [PDF, 0.8MB]


You will need planning permission to demolish:

  • a building larger than 115 cubic metres in size
  • a fence, wall or railing higher than one metre where it adjoins a road, footpath or open space, or two metres elsewhere
  • more than 10 per cent or 500 cubic metres of an industrial building (previous demolitions count towards this).


You will need planning permission from us to:

  • build an extension to the side of a building
  • build any structures, enclosures, pools or containers at the side of a building
  • build a rear extension of more than one storey
  • build a rear extension of greater than three metres depth for an attached house, or four metres for a detached property
  • clad the outside of your house
  • materially add to or alter the roof
  • put a satellite dish or antenna on a chimney, roof slope or wall which faces onto, and is visible from, the highway; or on a building which is higher than 15m
  • install, alter or replace a chimney, flue or soil vent pipe on a wall or roof slope which fronts a highway and is part of the main or side elevation of the house

install solar photovoltaic (PV) or thermal equipment which would:

  • protrude more than 200 millimetres beyond the plane of the wall or the roof slope when measured from the perpendicular with the external surface of the wall or roof slope
  • result in the highest part of the solar PV or solar thermal equipment being higher than the highest part of the roof
  • be installed on a wall forming the main or side elevation of a house and which would be visible from a highway, or it would be on a wall of a building within the curtilage of a house and would be visible from the highway
  • be installed on a building within the curtilage of the dwellinghouse if the dwellinghouse is a listed building.


You must apply for permission to fell or work on any tree that has a diameter of 75mm or more at a height of one and a half metres.

You must give us at least six weeks notice of your intention to carry out the work.

Industrial buildings

You will need permission to extend an industrial building by more than 10 percent of its original size.

Statutory undertakers

Controls over works by bodies such as gas and electricity suppliers are stronger in streets within conservation areas.

Illuminated signs

Illuminated signs need consent in conservation areas.

Application forms

If you need planning permission, download and complete the relevant application forms and guidance notes.