2017 marked the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Civic Amenities Act, which introduced the concept of Conservation Areas.

There are 53 Conservation Areas in the Harrogate district. Each one has a Conservation Area Appraisal - a document which tells the story of the area and sets out the area's special character and interest. The Appraisal is used as a sound basis for making decisions on planning applications and to inform local planning policies. It is an interesting read and a useful reference or guide for residents and visitors too.

Conservation Areas vary in type and size including historic market towns, model estate villages, rural hamlets and they are located throughout the district. Starbeck Spa is our youngest Conservation Area, designated in August 2012, while Ripon and Knaresborough are the oldest, which were first designated in March 1969 and subsequently extended.

Civic Voice, the charity that represents Civic Societies across the country, is leading the celebrations; the focus for the celebration having been centred around Civic Day on 17 June. However, if you value our heritage and care about your street or the village or market town where you live, you can still get involved - please visit www.civicvoice.org.uk for more information on the anniversary and to search for your nearest Civic Society.


The 1967 Civic Amenities Act introduced the first Conservation Areas in England, Wales and Scotland. The Act responded to public concern about the pace of redevelopment in historic towns and cities. It recognised that historic buildings existed in a physical setting of other buildings and townscape. In planning terms, Conservation Area designation introduced a test for planning authorities to preserve or enhance the character or appearance of the local area in decisions over new development.

Additional protection

There are a number of special controls and requirements that apply to Conservation Areas in order to protect their character:

  • consent is required to demolish buildings and other structures. Generally this will be resisted unless it would improve the appearance of the Conservation Area
  • new development must be well designed and the use of traditional natural materials will normally be required
  • new buildings, extensions and alterations must preserve or enhance the appearance of the Conservation Area
  • if you want to fell or lop a tree you must notify the council six weeks before the work is due to take place

Please visit the Conservation Areas page for more information and detail on additional planning controls.

Page last updated 10/01/2019