Properties in Conservation Areas
Brighton and Hove City Council defines a conservation area as an area of “special architectural or historic interest the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance”. This means that buying a property in that area will be a great long term investment in some ways as those areas keep their charm and properties within them are always desirable. However, the downside to buying these properties are the restrictions placed on them to preserve the character of these areas. Brighton and Hove itself is absolutely brimming with conservation areas as are parts of Sussex so it is well worth knowing a bit about the implications of buying in these areas.
Restrictions that Make Sense
In an area like the North Laine, which is very popular with tourists, it makes sense that there are going to be restrictions in place to keep the area looking the way tourists like it. Similarly, areas like Kemp Town (not Kemptown, you’ll notice) have buildings that were built at the same time and look very similar so it is easy to see why something like a large modern extension would be prohibited. Even smaller changes which seem petty like the colour you paint your front door are understandable in areas which have a very particular look. After all, if you bought in that area because you liked that look, it makes sense to want to keep it that way. Restrictions don’t just apply to the buildings themselves in conservation areas, however. Trees, gardens and even bungaroosh garden walls have restrictions and preservation orders on them so even the understandable restrictions can be hard work.
Being rather picky is not the only frustration with conservation areas, unfortunately. A major headache when buying in a conservation area is the fact that different conservation areas can have different rules. If you have moved from one conservation area to another, even just in Brighton and Hove, the rules can be really quite different. This means studying the rules very carefully when you want to make any changes or even repairs to your property and seeking permission for things that seem like they should be straightforward. Another aspect some homeowners find annoying are when they live in a property that is really rather ordinary looking and isn’t even a period property but they are very restricted in improvements they can make to it just because of where it is.
The Brunswick Estate
An example of a conservation area with incredibly specific rules is the Brunswick Estate. This area comprises Brunswick Square and part of the adjoining seafront. Its maintenance comes under a special local council Act and means all properties in the area have to be painted every five years with stipulations on the preparation of the area to be painted and the exact type of paint to be used. It specifies that painting must take place when the temperature is going to remain above 8° for the whole time the paint is applied and is drying and that all areas about to be painted need to be abraded first. Paint brand, type and colour are specified and the shop you can buy it in is listed. The colour of the paint is, rather joyfully, called Hove Cream.
While most conservation areas don’t have rules as specific as the Brunswick Estate, they do often have strict and sometimes quite specific rules that can make property maintenance difficult. That doesn’t mean, however, that changes to a property are impossible but you do need to ensure you get the right permissions first. Marc has a great deal of experience working in and around Brighton and Hove so can help people needing to maintain or improve properties in conservation areas. If you need some help in this regard, or with any issue a surveyor could help with, please call 01273 281624 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.