Conservation areas

Conservation areas are defined as areas of special architectural or historic interest. The council designates these areas to ensure their character or appearance is preserved and enhanced for current and future generations. 

Designation is the formal process of establishing a new conservation but is it only the starting point of the council’s role in managing the new heritage asset. First, we carry out a conservation area appraisal to identify the character of the conservation area and justify the designation. The next step is to create a conservation area management plan. This is to fulfil our duties under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997, to review the conservation areas and their boundaries and formulate and publish proposals for their preservation and enhancement. It also provides the opportunity to extend the controls in the form of Article 4 Directions to statutory undertakers and the local authority to bring their obligations in line with homeowners.

If, following a conservation area appraisal and public consultation, the decision is made not to proceed to formal designation, then the conservation area appraisal becomes a built heritage appraisal

We have around 40 conservation areas in Aberdeenshire. They vary in character from central Stonehaven to the small coastal settlement of Pennan. They include:

  • The centres of our historic villages and towns
  • Fishing and coastal villages
  • Estate villages and planned towns

Aberdeenshire conservation area boundary maps

You can also view a list of conservation area appraisals and management plans (if available). 

Part of Aberdeenshire is situated within the Cairngorm National Park and so is covered by the Cairngorm National Park Plan as opposed to the Aberdeenshire Local Development Plan. View our conservation areas situated within the park.

Planning controls in conservation areas

The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Scotland) Order 1992 enables us to make sure that new development will preserve or enhance the special character of the area.

Therefore if you intend to have work carried out on a property in a conservation area, you will normally need to apply to us for planning permission.

Demolition or substantial demolition of a building within a conservation area will usually require Conservation Area Consent. To find out if you need planning permission use form wizard on ePlanning website.

As the natural environment and spaces between buildings in conservation areas are also important, you also need permission from us to carry out works on protected trees such as felling or trimming.

Recent designations and review

Portsoy Conservation Area Management Plan

Following the production of the Portsoy Conservation Area Appraisal (pdf 3.8MB) in 2012 the Portsoy Conservation Area Management Plan (pdf 322KB) has now been produced. The main purpose of the document is to identify opportunities and priorities for enhancement and to set out clearly the existing policy framework for the determination of development proposals. Currently home owners and owners of commercial premises, within the conservation areas, already have additional planning controls applied to them, this document looks to extend these controls to local authorities, gas suppliers, electricity suppliers etc. as detailed in the plan. To bring their obligations in line with others in the conservation area and provide greater consistency in decision making.

This proposal was approved by Banff and Buchan Area Committee and we are now awaiting final approval from the Scottish Government.

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