Conservation areas were introduced by the Civic Amenities Act 1967 and are defined as "areas of special architectural or historic interest the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance".
Local authorities are obliged to determine which parts of their district are of special interest and declare them conservation areas. Conservation areas usually contain a number of properties included in the Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest, but it is not always enough just to protect these buildings in isolation; their surroundings and settings are often of equal importance and may be protected and enhanced by conservation area status. Designation is dependent on the overall quality and interest of an area, rather than individual buildings, although it is common for such areas to contain a number of listed buildings.
There are currently 14 conservation areas in Sunderland, ranging from city centre areas to pre-conquest villages; the Victorian suburb of Ashbrooke to the coastal resort of Roker. Each conservation area has its own unique character and appearance.
Designation as a conservation area has a number of implications: in all cases "special" consideration must be given to the impact that development would have on the character and appearance of the area and buildings within it. Alterations which usually don't require planning permission such as window replacements, replacement roofs and painting timberwork often do require consent when in a Conservation Area. For further information and to check whether you live in a Conservation Area take a look at the Council's Character Appraisal and Management Strategies;
Remember; if in doubt contact the Conservation Team for further advice.