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Conservation areas

A conservation area is an area of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance.

In a conservation area

The emphasis is placed on the quality of an area rather than individual buildings, for example groups of buildings, open spaces, street patterns or trees, can all be important factors which give an area its character.

We have a duty to identify areas within the City and County of Swansea that have a character worthy of protection and to designate them as conservation areas.

There are currently 31 conservation areas in the City and County of Swansea. They vary greatly in character, due to the diverse mix of settlements found in the area, from small villages like Penrice and Cheriton, to towns such as Morriston, to urban areas such as Wind Street and Mumbles.

Guidance for residents and property owners in conservation areas

We can advise you about any work that you propose to undertake within a conservation area, as well as the formal approvals that may be required and repair grants that may be available.

We have prepared  a guidance note for residents and owners of property in the conservation areas (PDF) [595KB]. If you have any queries, please start by reading through the download below and contact us if you need more information.  Please note that there is now a separate charged Standard pre-planning application advice for development proposals.

Planning applications in conservation areas

When considering an application for development in a conservation area, we have a responsibility to pay special attention to the desirability of preserving or enhancing the character or appearance of the area. The application will be advertised in the local newspaper and a notice will be displayed on or near the site. The planning department will normally require fully detailed plans rather than dealing with applications in an outline form so that the effect of proposals can be properly assessed.

If new development is to be permitted, particular attention should be paid to its siting, scale, form, materials, finishes, detailing and landscaping. Contemporary designs will not necessarily be rejected in conservation areas, but they must be designed with great sympathy for the area, relating well to the surrounding buildings and spaces.  In the case of listed buildings additional special controls apply.

If you anticipate carrying out new development, alterations or extensions to existing buildings in conservation areas you are encouraged to employ the services of an experienced designer, with a good track record of working in sensitive environments and aware of local vernacular styles of architecture, as they will probably be best equipped for this sort of work and have experience of local authority requirements.

An application for conservation area consent can be made using The Planning Portal Applications (opens new window)

Development adjacent to a conservation area

We will carefully consider whether development adjacent to a conservation area preserves or enhanced the setting of the designated area.

Demolition in conservation areas

Special permission known as conservation area consent is required for the demolition or partial demolition of all but the smallest buildings within conservation areas. Therefore you should always contact the planning department to ascertain whether or not consent is required.

Further guidance on conservation area consent can be obtained from  The Planning Portal - CA guidance notes (PDF) [48KB].

Permitted development

Certain minor alterations and very small extensions to dwellings can be undertaken without planning permission in conservation areas.

Other restrictions apply in all conservation areas and we have imposed additional planning controls known as an article 4 direction within the following conservation areas:

  • Maritime Quarter
  • Penclawdd
  • Mumbles
  • Rhossili
  • Horton
  • Port Eynon
  • Llangennith
  • Reynoldston
  • Holt's Field

These were put in place when it was clear that the character and the appearance of the conservation areas were being affected by inappropriate and unsympathetic alterations along with the use of unsuitable materials.

An article 4 direction removes some of your permitted development rights and means that approval from the planning authority needs to be obtained to carry out specified work defined in the direction.

No fee will be necessary for such planning applications.

Conservation area locations

The boundaries of all conservation areas in Wales can be viewed at DataMapWales (

Details of Conservation Area are held by Swansea Council and are currently being translated. Once available bilingually they will be added to this web site.

For further information on conservation areas see the Cadw Listed Buildings (opens new window)

Conservation areas review

We have a duty to formulate and publish policies and proposals for the preservation and enhancement of conservation areas.