Conservation Areas are defined as areas of special architectural or historic interest the character of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance.

The designated Conservation Areas in Rother District are:

Battle, Bexhill Old Town, Bexhill Town Centre, Burwash, Northiam, Sedlescombe, Robertsbridge, Rye, Ticehurst, and Winchelsea.

The extent of the designated Conservation areas may be viewed in PDF format.

Within these conservation areas are many notable historic buildings, a significant number of which are listed, together with historic street patterns, important open spaces and trees.

Conservation Area Appraisals have been prepared for a number of the Conservation Areas in Rother District and are kept under review. These Appraisals identify the special and unique characteristics of the settlement, including the historic pattern of development, building types and architectural styles, open spaces, views, and landscape features and the relationship of the existing built form to the surrounding countryside. 

Adopted Conservation Area Appraisals may be viewed in PDF format via the links at the bottom of this page.

Development in Conservation Areas

Within Conservation Areas, the Council has specific planning policies that relate to development in Conservation Areas, to ensure that the special character is not spoiled, and that important features are conserved.

The intention is not that these areas can never change, but to ensure that changes but to ensure that the main features of the area are conserved and that new development contributes positively to the special character of the area.

Conservation Area Designation has four main practical implications for residents and developers:

  • Conservation Area Consent is required for the demolition of certain unlisted buildings in a Conservation Area.

In assessing such applications, the Council will seek to maintain those special features which cumulatively make a conservation area special. There is a general presumption against the demolition of buildings or structures that are within the Conservation Area and contribute it its character and appearance.

  • Planning Permission is required for certain works to a building within a Conservation Area which might otherwise have been classed as Permitted Development outside a Conservation Area.

This applies to most external alterations including extensions, cladding, dormer windows, certain outbuildings, and satellite dishes in certain locations

  • The Council must be given at least 6 weeks notice in writing of the intention to carry out works to any tree in a Conservation Area.

Trees form an important element of many Conservation Areas. Anyone wishing to carry out works to a tree in a conservation area which is not already protected by a Tree Preservation Order must give notice of their intentions to the Council who then have six weeks in which to decide whether or not to serve a TPO on that tree.  The decision will be based on the contribution the tree makes to the character or appearance of the conservation area, the type of species, the health of the tree, and the nature of the works proposed.  If a TPO is served, a formal application will then be required for proposed works. Dead, dying or dangerous trees, or those below a certain size diameter, are exempt. It is always advisable to check with the Council’s Tree Officer before starting work.

  • New development in Conservation Areas is subject to consideration under specific Development Plan policies which aim to preserve or enhance the appearance of the Conservation Area.

Usually, only detailed plans and not outline applications will be considered for new development in Conservation Areas. The character of any Conservation Area is composed of many elements; the mixture of historical periods, the composition of the streetscape; broken sight lines and glimpse views through buildings, and interesting skylines. Careful site and context analysis must be undertaken, and the Local Planning Authority will require new development in Conservation Areas to have close regard to the scale and massing, plot width, traditional building forms, roofscapes, materials and techniques characteristic of the areas. This not to say that contemporary design themes will not be allowed but a recognition that they present the designer with a considerable challenge if they are to be successful.

Additionally, certain Conservation Areas are subject to an ‘Article 4 Direction’ which can remove more Permitted Development rights. At present, these exist in the Rye and Winchelsea Conservation Areas.

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