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Conservation areas

Conservation areas are defined by the 1990 Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act as being 'areas of special architectural or historic interest the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance'. They are designated by the local Planning Authority, and exist to protect the special architectural and historic interest of a place, in other words, the features that make it unique and distinctive. 

A guide to conservation areas can be found on the Historic England (opens new window) website.

To find out if your property is within a conservation area please use the Gateshead Interactive Core Strategy Map. (opens new window)

There are currently 22 conservation areas in Gateshead
Axwell ParkBirtleyBlaydonBradley Park
Bridges (Gateshead)ChowdeneClara ValeCoatsworth
Crow Hall (Felling)GibsideLamesleyLintzford
Low FellMarley HillPath HeadRavensworth
RowlandsRytonSaltwellSheriff Hill
Walker Terrace/Regent Street (Gateshead)Whickham  

They represent the variety of historic townscapes and landscapes and include such varied sites as historic cores of towns and villages, mining villages, Georgian country estates and Victorian housing.

They are designated usually because of their buildings but they can also be designated because of their history, architecture, layout or private spaces, such as gardens, parks and greens; trees or street furniture.

Conservation areas give broader protection than listing individual buildings and all features within the area, listed or otherwise, are recognised as part of its character.

The designation of a conservation area indicates the council's positive commitment to these areas and its intention to preserve and enhance the quality of the environment. Conservation areas are not open-air museums but living communities which must be allowed to change over time in order to remain vital and prosperous. Consequently the emphasis is to guide and control development rather than to prevent it. It is important though, that all new development should be sympathetic to the special architectural and aesthetic qualities of the area, particularly in terms of scale, design, materials and space between buildings.

The council is rolling out a programme to prepare Conservation Area Character Appraisals (CACAs) and Conservation Area Management Strategies (CAMS) for each conservation area. 

At present, the following have been completed,

  • Coatsworth Conservation Area CACA
  • Bridges Conservation Area CACA
  • Walker Terrace/Regent Terrace Conservation Area CACA

The council has appointed the North of England Civic Trust (NECT) (opens new window) to produce a Rural Conservation Areas Appraisal and Management Strategy which will cover the following conservation areas - Lamesley, Marley Hill, Ryton, Clara Vale, Whickham, Rowlands Gill and Lintzford. This is expected to be completed in June 2017.

Within a conservation area the council has extra controls over the following:


To demolish a building Conservation Area Consent is required. Generally we view an application from the stand point of trying to retain the building so a case needs to be made for its demolition. There are no fees for this application and there is a right of appeal against refusal.

Minor developments

In a conservation area, you need planning permission for changes to buildings which would normally be permitted. Changes requiring consent include cladding a building, inserting dormer windows, or putting up a satellite dish visible from the street. You are advised to contact the council for advice before considering works to properties within a conservation area in order to make sure that you apply for the right consents.

Article 4 directions

These help the council to manage, conserve and enhance conservation areas. Typically these relate to small scale development such as the replacement of windows or doors which, alone may have no impact on the significance of the conservation area but, over time, can incrementally erode their character and appearance. Article 4 directions provide controls over development by removing certain permitted development rights within conservation areas. Under these directions, works which might not normally require planning permission for example they are permitted development, will now require planning permission. The works affected include any works to the exterior of the property, or its grounds.

In Gateshead there are five separate Article 4 directions within the Saltwell Conservation Area. These cover almost every property within the conservation area and cover a wide range of works from replacing doors and windows, to painting the exterior of the property altering the boundary treatment and installing renewable energy sources such as solar panels.

If you own a property within the Saltwell Conservation Area and would like to carry out works to your property, it is advised to contact the Development Management team in advance to discuss whether planning permission would be required. Please see our planning advice page for details of the council's pre-application service and contact details for Development Management.

Saltwell Conservation Area Article 4 Direction 1

Saltwell Conservation Area Article 4 Direction 2

Saltwell Conservation Area Article 4 Direction 3

Saltwell Conservation Area Article 4 Direction 4

Saltwell Conservation Area Article 4 Direction 5


Anyone proposing to cut down, prune or carry out any other work to a tree in a conservation area, whether or not it is covered by a tree preservation order, has to give notice to the council. For more information visit trees and hedges. Policies used to control development

Our main body of conservation policy is in the Unitary Development Plan (UDP) section 11. This includes conservation policy with wider planning policies for the area. Policies in the conservation section generally presume against the loss of features which add to the special interest of the areas. These policies are used in the determination of planning applications in conservation areas.

The success of conservation areas

The ultimate success of conservation areas will depend upon the care which individual owners take with the maintenance and repair of their properties and in any alterations or extensions they make.

For example original windows and doors should be repaired where possible, or replaced with new ones to match the originals in terms of materials used and details of their design.

Cumulatively, even small changes can detract from the special character of an area.

Conservation area consent

This is required if you intend to demolish certain buildings in conservation areas.  conservation area consent application form (PDF) [401KB] (opens new window)  .

Contact us

Development Management
Civic Centre
Regent Street

0191 433 3000
Fax: 0191 433 3340