Conservation Areas

Information about Conservation Areas in Breckland

The Breckland administrative area is approximately 500 square miles and within that area there are 50 Designated Conservation Areas

What is a Conservation Area?

The Civic Amenities Act 1967 was the initial starting point for the creation of current day Conservation Area designation.

The Civic Amenities Act was 'An Act to make further provision for the protection and improvement of buildings of architectural or historic interest and of the character of areas of such interest; for the preservation and planting of trees; and for the orderly disposal of disused vehicles and equipment and other rubbish.'

It is considered that he greatest achievement of the Civic Amenities Act 1967 was the creation of the simple concept of the formation of designated Conservation Areas.

A Conservation Area is currently defined in section 69 of the Planning (Listed Building and Conservation Area) Act 1990 as 'an area of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance'.

Every  Conservation Area has it's own distinctive character, derived from it's landscape, geology, historic built environment and ongoing development, use, building materials and particular features. The individual buildings, street furniture, open spaces, trees and individual private gardens and ancillary buildings will all contribute to create the particular character of the Conservation Area.

Conservation Areas, together with listed buildings, scheduled monuments, certain other non-listed building types and landscapes are referred to as both Designated and Non-Designated heritage assets in terms of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) 2012

Conservation Areas in the Breckland region were predominantly designated in the 1970's and 1980's as identified in the table below:

ParishDate of Original DesignationDocuments (where available)
Attleborough06 October 1975 
Banham26 May 1975 
Bawdeswell10 February 1975 
Beachamwell28 October 1985 
Carbrooke25 January 1988 
Croxton04 December 1974 
Guist21 November 1991 
Harling28 May 1975 
Hilborough23 September 1985 
Hockham03 March 1975 
Hoe08 May 1989 
Litcham10 February 1975 
Little Dunham07 January 1992 
Lyng08 December 1975 
Mattishall13 November 1974 
Merton25 January 1993 
Mileham12 April 1976 
Mundford13 January 1975 
Narborough28 January 1985 
Necton22 August 1988 
New Buckenham15 January 1973 
North Elmham09 May 1988 
North Lopham22 March 1976 
Old Buckenham15 January 1973 
Oxborough25 January 1993 
Quidenham10 March 1986 
Rougham08 December 1975 
Shipdham06 October 1975 
South Acre25 November 1991 
South Lopham08 December 1975 
South Pickenham22 September 1986 

Updated April 2022

The Swaffham Conservation Area has recently been reviewed in accordance with the latest guidance from Historic England. Please follow this link to view the  Conservation Area Appraisal (PDF) [24MB] (opens new window)
Thetford14 December 1973 
Tittleshall22 March 1976 
Watton12 April 1976 
Weasenham St Peter17 December 1984 
Wellingham13 February 1989 
Wretham (East)10 February 1992 
Yaxham02 September 1985 

Maps identifying the extent of the Conservation Areas can be found onMy Maps 

What are the effects of living in a Conservation Area?

The principle purpose of Conservation Area designation is the acknowledged recognition of the special character of an area by the local authority. This will influence the way in which the Local Planning Authority deals with applications which may effect the Conservation Area.

Conservation Area status does not prevent change from occurring altogether; instead it helps the managed change in order to preserve the environment for the future. Designation will help ensure that new developments do not harm the existing character, by giving additional controls over demolition, minor developments and the loss of trees. New development is required to have a high standard of design


All buildings or structures over a minimum size may not be demolished, either completely or substantially, without the Council's prior consent. Similarly, property boundaries have a degree of protection from demolition. This is addition to any application for planning permission required for alterations to gates and walls. There is strong presumption in favour of retaining buildings which make a positive contribution to the area. In essence, an application for planning permission for relevant demolition in a conservation area should be used for proposals which involve substantial demolition of any unlisted building or structure in a conservation area if permission is required. The boundaries are defined as the need to:

  • Demolish a building with a volume of 115 cubic metres or more
  • Demolish any gate, fence, wall or other means of enclosure with:
  • A height of one metre or more if next to a highway (including a public footpath or bridleway), waterway or open space
  • A height of two metres or more elsewhere

Listed buildings

All of Breckland's Conservation Areas also contain listed buildings. Further restrictions apply in that any proposed material changes to the building, including its interior, exterior, boundary walls and curtilage structures requires Listed Building Consent (LBC). It is therefore advisable to discuss your proposals prior to  carrying out any alterations using the planning departments informal pre-app service.

Minor Development

In terms of dwelling houses, planning permission is required before making some changes which would sometimes be permitted development outside a Conservation Area, as follows:

  • Cladding to the exterior of a house with stone, artificial stone, pebble dash, render, timber, plastic or tiles.
  • Installation/alteration/replacement of a chimney, flue or soil and vent pipe on a dwelling house (where they front a highway and are on the principal elevation).
  • Side extensions.
  • Rear extensions of more than one storey.
  • Roof extensions, including dormer windows.
  • Any building or enclosure within the grounds of a house required for a purpose incidental to the enjoyment of the dwelling (including swimming pools, garden sheds, garages and summer houses), which is between a side elevation of a dwelling house and the property boundary.

Trees within Conservation Areas

Anyone proposing cut down, damage, prune, top or  lop a tree in a conservation area, even one that is not protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO), is required to give 6 weeks' notice in writing to the Council prior to carrying out the works - please refer to ourTrees in conservation areas page for more details

Last updated: 23/11/2023 10:01:53