Conservation Areas

There are currently 18 Conservation Areas within our area. These are designated and afforded statutory protection under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997

In our designated Conservation Areas, planning controls are stronger than elsewhere. The actual legislation is complex, but is summarised below. Further advice is available by emailing our Listed Building & Conservation Officer.

View our Conservation Areas

Demolition Control

Conservation Area Consent is required for demolition of buildings and structures in Conservation Areas. Demolition of Listed Buildings in a Conservation Area requires Listed Building Consent. Consent for demolition is unlikely to be granted in the absence of proposals for satisfactory replacement of the building or redevelopment of the site. In addition, where a building or structure makes a positive contribution to the character or appearance of a Conservation Area, and/or is listed, the Council is unlikely to give permission for its demolition.

Permitted Development 

The limits of Permitted Development (ie. those not requiring Planning Permission) within Conservation Areas are lower in order to protect the character and appearance of the area. The introduction of the new permitted development regulations mean that minor works such as, window and door replacement, external painting and stone cleaning, erection of fences, gates and porches, extensions etc require Planning Permission. If in doubt always check with the Council before undertaking any work.

New Development, Alterations and Extensions

Work which requires Planning Permission must be of a high standard appropriate to its surroundings. Planning legislation requires the Council to consider whether the proposed development “preserves or enhances” the special character of the Conservation Area. Work to Listed Buildings and unlisted buildings in Conservation Areas will normally be expected to involve the use of traditional materials. Conservation Areas also provide opportunities to introduce good quality modern design and bring together old and new in an attractive and ever-changing urban landscape. To be successful, new design must acknowledge its special context in terms of its scale, form, siting, alignment, materials and landscaping. Appointment of an architect or surveyor with appropriate experience in conservation work is recommended.

Read our recently approved planning guidance if you are wanting to replace windows and doors and your property is either a Listed building or in located in a Conservation Area.  

Read our Replacement Windows and Doors Guidance (PDF)

Works to Trees

The special character of Moray’s Conservation Areas owes much to the contribution made by individual trees or groups of trees. In a designated Conservation Area, it is an offence for any person to cut, lop, top, uproot, wilfully damage or destroy any tree, unless six weeks’ notice has been given to the Council’s Planning. The owner of the tree must submit a Tree Work Notice Application and await written consent from the Council prior to undertaking such works. 

This gives us time to consider making a Tree Preservation Order. These exist for individual or groups of trees which are seen as giving amenity value to the community. The felling or lopping of trees which are subject to a Tree Preservation Order also requires consent from our Development department.

Further information about Trees in Moray can a be found in our Trees section online.

Conservation Area Appraisals are currently being prepared for all of our Conservation Areas, and will be available to view or download from our website as and when they are produced.

More information

Advice on applying for Planning Permission, Listed Building Consent and Conservation Area Consent can be sought by emailing our Listed Building & Conservation Officer.

Pre-application discussion for any proposed work is always encouraged at the earliest possible stage. We can provide advice and guidance on your early thoughts and proposals, and guide you through often complex procedures.

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