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Conservation areas are defined by central government as 'areas of special architectural or historical interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance'. Local planning authorities are required to designate areas that possess this special interest as conservation areas and to ensure that the character and appearance is protected. There are 16 designated areas in the city, further details and maps of which are available via the links on the left of this page.
You can have a look at more detailed information about all the Conservation Areas in the city by selecting the relevant page from the left hand navigation menu.
Local Authorities are also required to formulate and publish proposals for the continued preservation and enhancement of these areas. Oxford City Council is currently carrying out studies of its conservation areas to improve the understanding of their special interest; to help manage change and provide guidance for any proposed building works so that the quality of the areas is not depleted.
In designating and appraising a conservation area its special interest needs to be defined and the City Council will consider the:
The city council cannot consider new designations merely because of development pressures or the risk, perceived or real, to the character of an area; there has to be a special interest worthy of identification meeting the high standards and expectations required by central government. To do anything less would devalue the significance and status of the designation process and existing designations.
The conservation areas designated by Oxford City Council include a diverse range of qualities from the compact college environment found in the city centre, the open green space found in the Headington Hill Conservation Area to the vast meadows in Wolvercote and Godstow. Architectural styles and landscape qualities are diverse but they all have the common element of containing features that contribute to our historic past. It is the protection of these elements that need to be properly managed, ensuring future generations will value and enjoy their special qualities.
Within a conservation area the city council has additional powers to protect buildings and landscape against alteration, development and demolition. The extent of works you can carry out without the specific permission of the city council is more limited than elsewhere and affects proposals such as extensions, roof dormers, works of demolition, satellite dishes and the application of cladding materials to external elevations
Any formal submission of proposals will need to demonstrate that the special character and appearance of your property, its street setting and the conservation area as a whole has been considered and respected. Understanding and consideration of local building materials, building techniques and forms are essential and the new development needs to respond to existing style and scale of development. Any proposal that is considered to undermine the character and appearance of the area and cause harm to the special interest will be resisted.
For application forms for planning permission and conservation area consent see How to Apply for Planning Permission.
You can use our LocalView Address Search or On the Map facility to see if you are within a Conservation Area.
Provides an overview of the Bartlemas Conservation Area
Provides an overview of Beauchamp Lane Conservation Area
Provides an overview of Binsey Conservation Area
Provides an overview of Central (University and City) Conservation Area
Provides an overview of Headington Hill Conservation Area
Provides an overview of Headington Quarry Conservation Area
Provides an overview of Iffley Conservation Area
In 2010 we will conduct a detailed study of Jericho.
Provides an overview of Littlemore Conservation Area
Provides an overview of Marston Conservation Area
Provides an overview of North Oxford Victorian Suburb Conservation Area
Provides an overview of Old Headington Conservation Area
Provides an overview of Osney Town Conservation Area
Provides an overview of St Clement's and Iffley Road Conservation Area
Provides an overview of Temple Cowley Conservation Area
Provides an overview of Walton Manor Conservation Area
Provides an overview of Wolvercote and Godstow Conservation Area
Page last updated 14 February 2013
Historic Buildings and Conservation Areas Team
St Aldate's Chambers
109 St Aldate's