Conservation areas vary greatly in their nature and character. They can range from the centres of historic towns and cities, to country houses set in parkland or historic transport links such as stretches of canal. The special character of these areas does not come from the quality of their buildings alone. Factors such as the layout of roads, paths and boundaries, and surrounding gardens, parks and street furniture, all contribute to the overall scene.
Conservation areas give broader protection than listing individual buildings. All the features within the area are recognised as part of its character.
Local authorities have the power to designate conservation areas. Areas are chosen because they are deemed as having special architectural or historic interest which it is desirable to protected or enhance. This 'specialness' is judged against local and regional criteria rather than national importance.
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