The popularity of Bedford Park and residents’ affection for the suburb depends – to a great extent – on a delicate balance with owners being able to enjoy homes appropriate for modern living while the character and integrity of the conservation area continues to be preserved. It is thanks to the efforts of the Bedford Park Society over the last 50 years that our neighbourhood has retained so much of its historic architecture and original charm and remains such a popular and pleasant place to live. Although planning policy is imposed by a legislative and administrative framework, the Society continues to play a critical role in helping cherish our much-loved garden suburb.
Strict planning regulations apply to the conservation area and to its 356 listed properties to ensure that the area retains its original character as much as possible and is protected from inappropriate development. Buildings are listed for both their historical as well as architectural merit, both interior and exterior. As well as the buildings, boundary fences, walls and gates and mature trees are also treated as vital components in maintaining the character of the suburb. Stricter controls apply to listed buildings, including internal changes.
According to the Town and Country Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, a conservation area is an “area of special architectural or historic interest the character and the appearance of which is desirable to preserve or enhance.” Historic England states additionally that it is the duty of local authorities to designate such areas and to use their legal powers to safeguard and enhance the special qualities of these areas within the framework of controlled and positive management of change.
Unlisted buildings in the conservation area are covered by an Article 4(2) Direction giving them greater protection. While these regulations are not as strict as for listed properties, they do mean that certain changes, particularly to the frontages, need planning permission.
Once a property is listed it cannot be demolished without specific permission. Any alterations or repairs require listed building consent as well as planning permission from the local authority. This covers internal and external works.
The Bedford Park Conservation Area falls partly in the Borough of Ealing and partly in the Borough of Hounslow. Both local authorities set guidelines, which form the basis of any planning decisions. Ealing Council has published a comprehensive Bedford Park Conservation Area Management Plan, which was produced in 2007 with input from the Society, and an outline of the historical development of the conservation area, known as the Bedford Park Area Appraisal. For residents the most relevant part of the Conservation Area Management Plan is section 5, which outlines the Council’s policy on a number of types of development, which are frequently proposed in planning applications. Brief summaries of the issues covered in this section are outlined under Guidelines.
Hounslow publishes a less detailed Bedford Park Conservation Area guideline.
The Bedford Park Society works with the two local councils to try to ensure that their planning policies in Bedford Park are as uniform as possible.
Homeowners who make unauthorised alterations or additions may be liable to enforcement action by the local authority, fines and an order to restore the building to its previous condition. Owners who make alterations without permission may inadvertently reduce the value and saleability of a house since these are likely to come to light when the house is next put on the market.
If you would like to check whether your house falls within the Bedford Park Conservation Area, please refer to the maps in the respective council documents or check the map on this site showing the listed and non listed buildings for both boroughs.