Living in a Conservation Area

Conservation Area statement

In 2010 a very detailed survey was completed, mainly by two members of the CHIS committee, for Bristol City Council: Clifton & Hotwells Character Appraisal (PDF). The management proposals contained therein suggest both things that need to be improved and changes that would harm the area.

Listed Buildings

There are large numbers of listed buildings in the Conservation Area and special permission is needed not only to alter them but also to make changes to their curtilage. See below.

Walls, Railings, Gates & Gateposts

These are a very special part of Clifton’s heritage. All need to be well-maintained and may not be altered without planning permission. Any changes can be very damaging to the visual amenity of the Conservation Area. For example, there is usually a regular gap between gateposts in a street and the loss of symmetry caused by moving them has a negative visual impact. Recent legislation has widened the protection given to boundary walls and also includes 'other means of enclosure'.


Clifton is a 19th century jewel of urban design and the settings of the buildings are as significant a feature as the buildings themselves. Clifton gardens are a key part of the attractiveness of the area and every loss of garden space from infill, extensions or paving over for parking brings closer the day on which we become indistinguishable from Broadmead. Parking pressures have forced many people to turn front gardens into parking spaces. This is always regrettable and needs planning consent.

Driveways and Decking

The surface of driveways should be permeable to prevent excessive run-off to drains designed for a different era. Decking reduces green space and biodiversity.


All work on trees in the Conservation Area, other than normal pruning, needs planning permission.  Trees and shrubs should be kept clear of pavements and roads.  Trees may not be felled without permission. However, a diseased or storm-damaged tree may be removed via contact with the tree department.  For information and advice, CHIS recommends contacting Bristol Tree Forum (email details for each area listed).

Plastic Windows & Double Glazing

Though some efforts have recently been made by manufacturers to match 18th and 19th century window styles, these are rarely satisfactory. Such replacement windows may not be used on listed buildings and are usually regrettable on any older property.


Great care has to be taken in a Conservation Area to preserve the important chimneyscape. Consent is required to alter or remove chimneys on listed buildings and in conservation areas.

Television Aerials and Satellite Dishes

All aerials are a blight on older buildings if fitted externally. Planning consent is needed in a Conservation Area for satellite dishes and for an antenna visible from the road. In addition, listed buildings need listed building consent.

Solar Panels

In general the installation of solar panels on listed buildings or in a Conservation Area is frowned upon especially if visible from ground level. To find out more see BCC: Solar panels.

Waste Disposal

Recycling policy has created some acute problems in parts of Clifton through lack of sufficient storage space for the various bins. Bins should not be on public view other than on collection day and need some form of screening if stored in front of a property. For more information please see our Refuse page.