If you’re thinking of buying a property in London, you’ll find that many areas of historical or architectural interest are protected by designated Conservation Area status. If you’re looking to buy in the Notting Hill area, this neighbourhood falls under the jurisdiction of the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea (RBKC) which has a total of 38 individual Conservation Areas.
Independent estate agents in Notting Hill should be your first port of call for specialist advice and guidance for buying residential property there. You’ll also need to know that the following Conservation Areas lie to the north of Kensington High Street:
- Avondale – Victorian terraced houses built between 1870-1895
- Avondale Park Gardens – WW1 ‘Homes for Heroes’ artisan cottages around a garden square
- Colville – the Portobello Estate developed around 1860-1875
- Holland Park – a large area around the Park, formed in 1981
- Kensal Green Cemetery – 72 acres of well kept grounds dating back to 1833
- Kensington – the largest RBKC area with a broad mix of residential/commercial buildings ranging from Georgian to contemporary architecture
- Kensington Palace – a large area with architecture dating back to medieval times
- Ladbroke – Victorian and Edwardian architecture
- Norland – including the original Norland Estate
- Oxford Gardens – late Victorian and Edwardian architecture in a variety of styles
- Pembridge – rich diversity of building and one of the earliest designated areas in the borough
Conservation Areas are neighbourhoods and locations with unique and significant features that are deemed worthy of additional safeguarding from unsuitable alteration and detrimental development. There are now more than 9,000 Conservation Areas in England and Wales.
Kensington & Chelsea is one of the wealthiest boroughs in the country, boasting beautiful historic buildings including many magnificent mansion blocks and luxurious family homes that make this area of West London such a desirable and fashionable place to live. Indeed, the borough’s architectural significance is so tremendous that over 2/3 of the geographical area is covered by Conservation Area status.
Advantages of buying in a Conservation Area
Buying a property in a designated Conservation Area has its pros and cons, and moving to Notting Hill is no different.
Owning a Notting Hill home with a sympathetically preserved character and neighbourhood is a great investment and you will find that when it comes to sell, your home’s appeal will significantly add to the value, fetching premium prices.
According to research carried out in 2012 by Historic England and the London School of Economics, houses located in Conservation Areas appreciate faster in value than comparative properties elsewhere while keeping their value even in times of economic downturn.
Conservation Areas impose additional planning controls which may make it more difficult to carry out repairs, alterations and refurbishments to the building. However, looking at house price developments, it is clear that this is not considered onerous by potential buyers.
Instead, the evidence suggests that buyers put a higher value on character properties that are well designed and with their architectural integrity intact, particularly if they are set in a West London neighbourhood with a shared sense of community values.
Disadvantages of living in a Conservation Area
The downsides of owning a property in a Conservation Area are a direct consequence of the tighter planning restrictions imposed by the designated status. Whether you are a residential or commercial property owner, you will be required to obtain RBKC’s permission, or follow specific rules, in order to make alterations to the property such as
- Window replacements
- Solar panel installations
- Building extensions
- Building demolition (part or whole)
- Exterior painting and decorating
- Exterior paving and bricklaying
Restrictions will also apply to pruning or felling trees situated in a Conservation Area. Before any work can commence, a minimum of 6 weeks’ notice must be given to the Council so that the tree in question can be assessed. If its contribution to the character of the area is deemed to be significant, a Tree Preservation Order may be issued to protect the tree, meaning it cannot be cut down.