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Conservation and Heritage FAQs

Conservation Areas are created when a local planning authority identifies an area of special architectural or historic interest, which deserves careful management to protect that character.

There are 25 conservation areas throughout Sefton, each reflecting the variety of building styles and environments to be found across the borough.

You can check if your property is in a conservation area by using our interactive map service SIMON (Sefton Interactive Maps ONline) and selecting the layer ‘Conservation and Heritage’ and then ticking the Conservation Areas layer. This will allow you to see designated conservation areas throughout Sefton.

If your property is in a conservation area you may need planning permission for certain alterations or extensions which have the potential to affect the character and appearance of the conservation area.

Different rules for what needs planning permission may apply to each individual area, each area has its own advisory leaflet which can advise you the best way to carry out development.  You can check this at Conservation Areas and select the specific Conservation Area tab that would apply to you and your property.

You can also check what may need planning permission on the Planning Portal 

Not without consulting us first. Anyone proposing to carry out works to a tree in a conservation area must provide the Council with at least six weeks’ notice. Please contact us at

A Listed Building is a building, object or structure that has been judged to be of national importance in terms of architectural or historic interest and included on a special register, called the List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. Compiled by the Department for Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS), under the provisions of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, the list includes a wide variety of structures, from castles and cathedrals to milestones and village pumps.

You can check if your property is a listed building by searching the official List at Historic England

You can also check if your property is listed by using our interactive map service SIMON (Sefton Interactive Maps ONline) and selecting the layer ‘Conservation and Heritage’ and then ticking the Listed Buildings layer.

Listing descriptions can be found at Historic England.

Drawing together all scheduled monuments, listed buildings, registered landscapes and battlefields, and protected wrecks, The List now holds over 400,000 entries. Historic England continuously updates The List, which they curate for the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

In general, the entry should not be relied upon for a detailed assigning of special interest. The description may be a useful starting point for understanding the claims to special interest, but it will not be the last word. Originally, list entries were brief and intended to help with identification. In recent decades, particularly since the start of post-war listing, greater efforts have been made to explain the history of a building and to outline its claims to special interest. Modern List entries (since around 2005) are thus fuller than earlier ones, and it is fair to say that the more recent the description, the more helpful it is likely to be.

You can also find more information of the building by using our interactive map service SIMON (Sefton Interactive Maps ONline) and selecting the layer ‘Conservation and Heritage’ and then ticking the Listed Buildings layer. If you tick on the Listed Building and then on the related link it will show you information of the listing in our website.

Yes. Listed building consent is required for pretty much all works, if you are unsure please contact us beforehand, as a failure to do can be classed as a criminal offence.

Usually this would include demolition, alteration or extension to a listed building that affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest. This applies to both its interior and exterior and any curtilage buildings works for example would include windows, changing internal walls etc.

In order for us to know whether your proposals would need Listed Building Consent or indeed if it is likely to get Listed Building Consent it is often the case that detailed information may be required such as photographs of a visit to your property from one of our specialist officers, therefore we would suggest that you fill in the pre-application advice form.

For more information Listed Buildings and Listed Building Advisory Leaflet. For the Listed Building Consent form go to the planning portal or request it from the Planning Department

It is often a good idea to contact the planning team for an informal advice before you submit a full formal application. This is known as Pre-application advice and is encouraged as it can help you understand how planning policies and other requirements affect your proposals and reduce the chances of submitting an invalid application or an application that may be refused. It is important at the outset to carry out a Heritage Statement and this may inform your future proposals and will help justify your proposals including. Please bear in mind there is a cost for this service and that planning applications will normally be decided in accordance with the Local Plan.

A Heritage Statement describes the architectural and historic significance of a heritage asset and how any proposals might affect it. It should be carried out at the beginning of the design process to help inform the proposals so that they cause no harm or minimise harm to the Asset.

This is required in accordance with the National Planning Policy Framework paragraph 189, and as a minimum the Merseyside Historic Environment Record should be consulted at

Applications will not be validated without one.

See Section 8 of the Validation Checklist for more detailed information.

We hold a limited number of historic plans or photographs that may help with formulating your Heritage Statement, but sometimes few relating to domestic properties. For further details please contact the Planning Department and we may be able to assist.

We hold a limited number of copies of historic maps (OS dated 1893, 1908, 1927, 1937 (limited coverage) and some post-war dated versions. These can be consulted in advance by contacting the Planning Department.

Regular maintenance is needed to tackle the inevitable decay and deterioration of building fabric that occurs because of climatic conditions, general wear and tear, neglect and other factors. Good maintenance is important to buildings of all ages and types and helps slow the rate and lessens the need for large-scale, costly work further down the line.

Some useful websites with information and advice about the maintenance of historic buildings include:

The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings -

The Institute of Historic Building Conservation -

Historic England –

Sefton Conservation Team together with Southport Townscape Heritage Project have produced a guide for the maintenance of Sefton’s historic properties - you can read the guide online 

Designation highlights a building, site or area's special interest and value to this and future generations and gives it protection under law or policy. Within Sefton this includes Scheduled Monuments, Listed Buildings, Conservation Areas, Registered Parks and Gardens and Non-designated Heritage Assets. The designation regime is set out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.

These assets can be identified on SIMON (Sefton Interactive Maps ONline) selecting the layer ‘Conservation and Heritage’.

Non-designated heritage assets are buildings, monuments, sites, places, areas or landscapes identified as having a degree of heritage significance meriting consideration in planning decisions, but which do not meet the criteria for designated heritage assets, such as Listed Buildings, Conservation Areas, etc.

You can check these assets by using our interactive map service SIMON (Sefton Interactive Maps ONline) and selecting the layer ‘Conservation and Heritage’ and then ticking the Non-designated Heritage Assets.

The related institutes of building professionals whether that be for Architects, (RIBA), Building Surveyors (RICS) or Structural Engineers (CARE) all have a conservation accreditation schemes within them driving excellence within their particular field concerning Heritage. Further information can be found at:


The Register of Architects Accredited in Building Conservation (AABC) | AABC (

Building Surveyors:


Structural Engineers:

rgn-6-conservation-accreditation-register-for-engineers.pdf (

Other Professionals and specialist contractors:

Making a historic building more energy efficient is important, which will help them remain viable and useful, now and in the future. But striking the right balance between benefit and harm is not easy. The unintended consequences of getting energy efficiency measures wrong (or doing them badly) can cause irreversible problems. Getting the balance right (and avoiding unintended consequences) is best done looking at the whole building and its particular age and construction and the way it functions.

Historic England provides really useful information for those with historic buildings that want to improve energy efficiency and most importantly getting it right.

Sefton Conservation Team together with Southport Townscape Heritage Project have produced a guide for improving energy efficiency in Sefton’s historic properties. You can download it from here.

Officially known as the Historic Buildings and Monuments Commission for England, Historic England is an executive non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Its powers and responsibilities are principally set out in the National Heritage Act 1983 (1). It reports to Parliament through the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

Historic England works with a range of Government departments, notably DCMS, CLG and DEFRA, to help realise the potential of the historic environment. Local planning authorities are obliged to consult Historic England on certain planning and listed building consent applications, as set out in legislation.

Last Updated on Friday, July 5, 2024

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