Conservation Areas are districts which the City Council has determined are of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to conserve or enhance. There are 49 Conservation Areas in Edinburgh reflecting its historic and architectural heritage. The Craigmillar Park Conservation Area was originally a smaller area designated in 1996, but was enlarged in 2007 to cover the same area as that served by this Association (See Map). Each Conservation Area in Edinburgh has a Character Appraisal setting the area in context and identifying key characteristics and qualities which must be respected. These are material considerations in the assessment of planning applications within each conservation area.   The Craigmillar Park Area Character Appraisal was approved by the Council in 2003 and it was written with the help of CPA Members, many of whom are still active in the organisation. You can view the Craigmillar Park Appraisal with all the others on line at All the City’s Conservation Area Character Appraisals are being reviewed on a priority basis, Grange being one of the first to be finished in 2014, but it will take a few years to get to Craigmillar Park.

The main implication of Conservation Area designation under the relevant legislation is that planning consent is required for development which would not otherwise need it, such as demolition of an unlisted building.   The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Scotland) Amendment Order 2011 removes permitted development rights for householders in all conservation areas and in those areas some classes of development are additionally restricted by what is called Article 4 Directions, so that planning permission is required for instance to alter or remove a gate, wall, fence or other enclosure. The removal of Householder Permitted Development Rights in Conservation Areas means that planning permission will be required for external fixtures such as satellite dishes, rooflights, sheds, conservatories, patios, parking spaces, hard landscaping and hardstandings and all extensions and alterations.   Most changes to the outside of a building in a Conservation Area will require planning permission, including changing the colour, and for extensions and alterations the use of traditional materials will be encouraged, so that uPVC glazing will not generally be acceptable. Replacement windows and external doors may also require consent unless on a like for like basis. Slimline double glazing of traditional timber sash windows is now available, but check first what consent is required before arranging for any work.

Of particular note is that in a conservation area the Council has to be given six week’s notice of any intended work on trees not already covered by a Tree Preservation Order.   (In this context a tree is one which has a diameter more than 75mm at 1.5M above ground level and work on trees means trimming, crown or branch management, lopping, felling, uprooting or removal.)

If in doubt as to what you may do always ask first. Do not assume because your neighbour has already done what you want to do that you may do the same as the regulations may have changed. The Council’s Planning Helpdesk at Waverley Court, 4 East Market Street, Edinburgh EH8 8BG will advise or phone 0131 529 3550 or email them at

You can also get help online from the Council’s planning website:

This gives you several options but clicking on “Planning and Building/The City of Edinburgh Council” allows you then to click on a choice of windows, such as “Local Plans & Guidelines”, “Planning Applications” or “Enforcement”.  

“Local Plans and Guidelines” takes you to the Council’s non-statutory Guidance to help those contemplating changes to buildings or other developments and those of most interest to householders in our area are:- Edinburgh Design Guidance,Guidance for Householders and Guidance for Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas. You will see there are also other Guidance documents available covering more specialist topics and you can also get an update on the current Local Development Plan.

 “Planning Applications” has windows on “Apply for planning permission” and “View and comment on planning applications”.   Clicking on the latter takes you to “View and comment on planning applications online” and then to the Planning and Building Standards Portal, where you can get details of a planning application by entering the application reference or the first line of the address in the application box or click on “View Weekly/Monthly List” to access the city-wide list for a specific week by Ward and we are Southside/Newington. Notification of intended work on trees in a conservation area is also included in the weekly lists (See above). The “Enforcement” window referred to above gives advice on this and how to report a possible planning breach.

If you are privileged to live in a Listed Building always ask what you may be permitted to do and note that listed building consent may be required regardless of whether planning permission has been granted. The window “Apply for Listed Building Consent” may also provide guidance. Finally, if you believe that work on your building is permitted development or has acquired consent, you may be able to apply for a Certificate of Lawfulness, which is a legal document from the City Council confirming that the development is lawful.

We hope you find this information helpful, but please remember it is not a statement of planning law or regulations. It is aimed at householders in the CPA area so there are many aspects of planning policy, regulation and guidance not covered and so if in doubt always consult the Council’s planning department, contact details for which are given above.