The Big Conservation Conversation

The Big Conservation Conversation was launched by Civic Voice at the 2016 Annual Convention and AGM in Chester. 

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The concept of conservation areas was introduced in England, Wales and Scotland by the Civic Amenities Act 1967 through a private members bill led by Lord Duncan Sandys. Civic Voice now holds the annual Sandys Lecture in his name.

When conservation areas legislation was introduced there was widespread public concern over the pace of redevelopment in our historic towns and cities. Today there are over 10,000 conservation areas in the UK (approximately 9,300 in England, 500 in Wales, 650 in Scotland and 60 in Northern Ireland) reflecting the popularity of this legislative tool in identifying and protecting our most valued historic places.

Conservation area designation essentially controls the demolition of unlisted buildings over a certain size and works to protect trees, restricts permitted development rights on dwelling houses and tightens regulations on advertising. It also places a statutory duty on local planning authorities to pay special attention to preserving or enhancing the character or appearance of conservation areas while undertaking their planning duties.

In 2017 and with the support of Laura Sandys, the civic movement will be raising awareness of conservation areas and we want you to show your support. Sign up today to join our newsletter which will keep people updated on our activities. Sign up here.

Designating a conservation area should not be seen as an end in itself: we live in a changing world and for the historic environment to survive and continue to be cherished it needs to be positively managed. We want communities across the country to come together and say "My Conservation Area Matters". This will also be the theme for next year's Civic Day when we will be encouraging civic societies to go out and celebrate their local conservation area. 

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