Solicitor tips for home buying in Croydon conservation areas

Croydon Conveyancing Solicitors acting for buyers regularly discover that properties are situated in a conservation area. The London Borough of Croydon has 21 designated areas, some of which include ordinary residential properties. Many homebuyers are unaware of the implications of a house being in a conservation area, and it can come as a surprise to them to discover even that there are conservation areas in Croydon. When a Conveyancing Solicitor carries out a local search for a buyer, this will show if a house is in such an area, and the buyer will be informed.

Most houses and other residential properties in Croydon are not located in conservation areas, but some, such as the East India Estate, include many ordinary houses. Some of the areas are well-known in the Croydon area, and the fact that a property is in such an locale may be one of the reasons that attracts a buyer. The London Borough of Croydon’s website lists all the conservation areas in the Borough, together with full details of the areas covered.

If a property is in such an area, then a stricter planning regime will apply. Many alterations and works which can normally be carried out by a home-owner will require planning consent, and any trees on a property are protected. The purpose of creating conservation areas is to protect the general look of an area, so works which would affect the look of the area as a whole will have to comply with certain requirements if consent is to be obtained. For instance, replacement windows or doors would have to look like the original style of windows or doors for the property as it was originally built. This means that it will often be necessary to have replacement windows made and installed by a specialist company who can supply windows that will look like, say, original Victorian sash windows.

Tree Preservation Orders (TPOs) in Croydon

One problem for Conveyancing Solicitors is that if the council has given planning consent for a change of use for a house in a conservation area, then it will be necessary to obtain further consent to change the use back to residential when a house is sold. That was the situation that Fridaysmove recommended Conveyancing Solicitor Fayruz Cahill discovered when acting for the buyers of a house in Canning Road, Croydon CR0 in 2010. The local search showed that the house was on the East India Estate conservation area, and also that in 1995 planning consent had been granted for the use of ground floor room as a place of worship for up to 15 people. The house was being sold as an ordinary residential house, so Fayruz had to ask the sellers to obtain further consent for the use of the ground floor room to revert to residential use.

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The sellers therefore had to apply to the Council for this consent.   This was obtained after some delay. The buyers were aware that the house was in a conservation area, and Fayruz advised them about the effect this would have. Apart from any alterations or works to the buildings, anyone proposing to cut down, top or lop a tree in a conservation area, whether or not it is covered by a tree preservation order, has to give notice to the council. The council will then considers the contribution the tree makes to the character of the conservation area and, if necessary, it will make a tree preservation order to protect it.

If you are considering buying a house located in one of Croydon’s conservation areas, take advice from a Fridaysmove -recommended Croydon Conveyancing Solicitor who is expert in this area.