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Historic areas and buildings

Bedford has many fine areas and buildings distinguished by their architecture, landscape and history, which creates an attractive and mixed environment. These areas are important examples of our history and must be protected against unsympathetic change.

Conservation areas and listed buildings are two main ways this can be achieved.

Conservation areas

Conservation areas give additional protection to an area of important historical value. It restricts what development can be carried out and development that would generally be allowed outside of a conservation area may not be allowed inside. Development proposals within a conservation area have to preserve or enhance the character of that area.

For more details on Householder developments in conservation areas please refer to the Heritage Advice page

For more details on listed buildings please see below.

For a response from planning please refer to STEP 4 on the planning enquiries page

Conservation area maps

The maps in PDF format show the conservation areas within the Bedford Borough area:

Conservation area appraisal

A Conservation Area Appraisal defines the special nature and distinctiveness of the area in order to enable well founded decisions to be made about its future management.

It looks at the historical development of the area, historic buildings, spaces and structures still present and any issues which may affect its future preservation. The appraisal is then used to produce a management plan which sets out those measures which are required in order to safeguard the future preservation of the character of the conservation area.

Bedford conservation area management plan

Other conservation area appraisals and management plans

Listed buildings

A listed building is one that is given additional protection because of it's special architectural or historic interest. If you live in a listed building, what development or alterations you can carry out will be limited and planning applications will be required for work that would normally be allowed in other buildings.

What listing covers

When a building is listed, it means:

  • the whole building is listed - inside and outside
  • Anything attached to it is listed - such as hanging signs or works of art designed specifically for the building
  • any other structures within the curtilage (boundary) of the building are also listed - such as boundary walls or outbuildings - if they were built before July 1948

Grades of listed buildings

II - the standard grade: means the building is of special interest and every effort should be made to preserve them

II* - means the building is particularly important and of more than special interest

I - means the building is exceptionally interesting

Check if a building is listed by searching the National Heritage List for England.

Listed building consent

Listed building consent is required for any works that would affect any part of the listed building's special interest. the aim is not to simply preserve the building exactly as it was originally built, but to maintain its historic importance whilst allowing it to be lived in. The main types of work that require consent include:

  • partial or total demolition
  • extensions
  • alterations, including small changes to the structure, fabric or appearance, even if they are improvements
  • repairs which would alter the appearance of the building

Types of work not normally needing consent include:

  • General maintenance and decorating so long as it generally matches the existing colour scheme
  • Rewiring, installing central heating, replacing kitchen unites and bathrooms, providing the historic qualities of the building and features such as mouldings and panelling are not affected

Buildings at risk register

English Heritage produce a register of grade I and II* buildings considered 'at risk'. The Council also produces a register of local buildings at risk. The registers are of listed buildings that need repairing.

View the English Heritage Buildings at Risk Register.

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