Conservation of the Historic EnvironmentCockermouth Market Place

Allerdale has a fascinating history with many historic towns and villages.  It has 20 conservation areas outside of the national park area.

Allerdale’s Conservation Officer can provide guidance advice on conservation Areas and listed buildings in Allerdale outside of the National Park on 030 123 1702 or contact us using the enquiry form to the left of this page. 

To discuss conservation areas or listed buildings within the Lake District National Park area, please contact The National Park Authority on 01539 724555.

Conservation Areas

Local Planning Authorities have a duty to determine which areas in their district are of a high enough quality to designate as Conservation Areas. These are defined in the Planning (Listed Building and Conservation Areas Act) 1990 as ‘areas of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance’. Conservation Areas are therefore those areas considered to have the most important environmental quality in the Borough.

The character of Conservation Areas is very varied.  They include whole town centres, small groups of houses, old industrial areas, or any other area with interesting townscape or architectural character.  The character of an area is often the result of many small details.  In Allerdale, the majority of Conservation Areas are small rural settlements whose character is derived from the unique way in which the man-made elements (such as houses, cottages, walls, churches, farms, public buildings, boundary walls, bridges, etc) relate to each other and to the landscape features (such as hills, rivers, trees, village greens etc).  Local materials are often an essential part of the character of an area.  Local sandstones and slates and finishes such as lime wash are particularly common.   Dry stone walls and hedgerows form a visual and historic link between settlement and countryside. Chimneys, windows and walling, and structures such as barns and bridges are essential to local distinctiveness and evidence of historic ways of life.

Living in a Conservation Area

An area designated as a Conservation Area requires planning applications to be made for certain types of development which are elsewhere classified as permitted development. These extra controls are designed to preserve or enhance the character of the area and the quality of design. The regulations are complicated, so it is advisable to consult the planning department before you undertake any new work. However, planning permission is likely to be required for the following works:

  • Alterations and extensions to buildings (including the altering of windows and doors);
  • demolition of buildings in a Conservation Area;
  • Removal of trees or other features
  • The display of advertisements

Whilst there are some works which can be carried out in some Conservation Areas without consent, it is important to check the situation in your conservation area before starting work.

Extra publicity is given to planning applications affecting Conservation Areas, with a view to preserving or enhancing the area. 

Listed BuildingsHelena Thompson Museum

Allerdale Borough Council is committed to ensuring the preservation of Listed Buildings and the designation of Conservation Areas.  The information below provides some advice about listed buildings. It describes how and why buildings are listed and how this may affect you as an owner or occupier.

What is a Listed Building?

A listed building is one that is included in the 'List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest' compiled by the Secretary of State for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. Allerdale Borough Council has a copy of the list for its area that any member of the public is welcome to inspect.

Why is a Building Listed?

There are a number of reasons why a building may be listed:

  • Architectural Interest - including buildings that are a good example of a particular style or type as well as ones that display important examples of decoration or craftsmanship.
  • Historic Interest - including buildings that display important aspects of the social, economic, cultural or military history of the nation.
  • Technological Innovation - for instance, cast iron prefabrication or the early use of concrete.
  • Close Historical Associations - buildings that are associated with a particular event or person.
  • Group Value - buildings that, together, form an important historic or architectural unity such as a crescent or terrace.
  • Age and rarity are other important considerations. The older a building is, and the fewer the surviving examples, the more likely the building is to be listed. Generally speaking, the following apply:
  • All buildings built before 1700, and which are surviving in anything like their original condition, will be listed.
  • Most Buildings built between 1700 and 1840 - some selection is necessary although many will be listed.
  • Between 1840 and 1914 an even greater selection is necessary since so many more examples have survived, with even fewer buildings built after 1914 being listed, and very few buildings less than 30 years old will be listed.
  • Between 1914 and 1939 selected buildings of high quality or historic interest.
  • A few outstanding buildings after 1939.

Listed buildings are graded to give an indication of their relative importance:

  • Grade I These are building of exceptional interest (only about 2% of listed buildings are of this grade).
  • Grade II* These are particularly important buildings of more than special interest (some 4% of listed buildings).
  • Grade II These are buildings of special interest, which warrant every effort made to preserve them.

How to find out if a Building is Listed

Allerdale Borough has a copy of the list for its area that any member of the public is welcome to inspect. In order to establish whether a building is listed, the Council will require the address and the Parish in which the building is situated. There is a small fee for a copy of a listing description to be faxed or posted. Alternatively, enter your property details in the My Property address search on our website. Under the Environment heading of the results for your property, it will tell you if your property is a listed building, along with other useful facts including if your property is in a conservation area.

The description provides the grade of the listing, as well as a brief description of the exterior (and occasionally interior) features, in order that the building can be identified. The description does not provide a record of all the features of importance.  Any object or structure fixed to the building or within the curtilage of the building is protected under the listing.

What is the Effect of Listing?

Once listed, a building has special protection under the Planning (Listed Building and Conservation Areas) Act 1990. This protection covers both the exterior and the interior.  There is no such thing as a listing for part of a building (e.g. a façade). If you want to do anything that alters the architectural or historic character of the listed building you will need to apply for listed building consent.  Even seemingly insignificant works such as changing a window, or painting the building can affect its character and it is advisable to contact the Conservation Officer before you start.  If you want to demolish a listed building, or any part of it, you will also need listed building consent.  Again, even seemingly minor work such as removing a chimney stack or a fixture can be considered demolition and may need consent.

How do I Apply for Listed Building Consent?

You must submit an application to the Council.  Listed Building Application forms are available from Allerdale Borough Council.  The whole process takes about 8 weeks (this could be longer in the case of Grade I and II* buildings or where a proposal is particularly controversial) so it is a good idea to apply long before you want to do any works. The submission of clear and accurate information will help the Council process applications quickly and efficiently.  It is also a good idea to submit photos and an explanation of the reason for the proposed works.

It may also be necessary to apply (on a separate form) for Planning Permission. Please contact a Development Control Officer for more advice.

Grants Available for Historic Buildings

Grants for the repair of grade I and II* buildings may be available from English Heritage. Please telephone the regional headquarters at Manchester on 0161 242 1400 for further information.  Some work on listed buildings enjoys a better position regarding VAT.  At present this applies to alterations.  In order to establish whether specific works will be exempt from VAT, contact the Customs and Excise VAT Advice Centre, on 0845 010 9000 or on-line.

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Contact us

0303 123 1702

Allerdale Borough Council
Allerdale House, Workington, Cumbria,
CA14 3YJ