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Planning - conservation areas and listed buildings

Burgh Halls, Linlithgow  

Conservation areas and listed buildings


Special regulations apply for development in conservation areas and listed buildings. Some types of development which may normally be considered permitted development requires an application for planning permission or conservation area consent.


Conservation areas:

A conservation area is an area of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance.

The council has identified the following conservation areas, click on the name for a map of the boundaries:

What requires planning permission?

Most works to the outside of a building or structure in a conservation area will require planning permission or conservation area consent.


What if I want to demolish a building within a conservation area?

Demolition requires conservation area consent. You must apply using the following form:

Are there any other restrictions in a conservation area?


            -   Trees are protected from felling and lopping 

            -   Some minor works may require consent 

            -   An Article 4 direction may apply (see below)


Article 4 directions


Article 4 directions are additional controls which may be applied to proposed changes within conservation areas. Development in these areas which would otherwise be considered permitted development, or development which does not require a planning application, requires planning permission or conservation area consent.


West Lothian has Article 4 Directions in place for:

  • Broxburn                             
  • Kirknewton                         
  • Upper Linlithgow               
  • Linlithgow Palace and High Street
  • Torphichen
  • Uphall                                  

Only certain classes of development are covered.


If you believe that your proposal might be in one of these areas, or you have any queries, please contact us on 01506 282456 or email us at


Control of Advertisements Direction

The following areas also have additional controls regarding the proposed display of advertisements:

  • Linlithgow Palace and High Street Conservation Area (pre 1995 boundary)
  • Mid Calder Conservation Area
  • Torphichen Conservation Area

For more information, please contact us on 01506 282456 or email us at


Listed buildings


What requires Listed Building Consent?


Any proposal to demolish, alter or extend a listed building in a way which would affect its character or appearance requires listed building consent. This includes work to the exterior and/or interior of the building. The proposed work can be major, or very small, such as installation of roof lights.


Certain proposals which require listed building consent may also require planning permission. Applications for listed building consent and planning permission should be submitted at the same time.


There are three categories of listed buildings:

·              Category A 

Buildings of national or international importance, either architectural or historic, or fine little-altered examples of some particular period, style or building type.

·              Category B

Buildings of regional or more than local importance, or major examples of some particular period, style or building type which may have been altered.

·              Category C 

Buildings of local importance, lesser examples of any period, style, or building type, as originally constructed or moderately altered; and simple traditional buildings which group well with others in categories A and B.


Historic Scotland maintains a register of listed buildings. Click here to access their website.


Are any buildings exempt from listed building consent?


There are some categories of buildings which are exempt. However, development that affects them may require approval through other legislation. You should speak to a case officer to obtain advice on what is required.


Buildings which may be exempt:


·       Buildings which are both listed and scheduled. These require scheduled monument consent from Historic Scotland.

·       Places of worship, with the exception of proposals for demolition which require listed building consent.


In all cases, you should speak to a case officer to obtain advice.


Click here to go to Historic Scotland’s website which has a scheduled monument list and information about applying for scheduled monument consent.

Building preservation notice and other notices


Building preservation notices may be served by the council.  These notices can be issued when an unlisted building may be damaged and the council believes that it should be protected.  The notice protects the building for a period of six months during which time it is determined whether the building should be listed.  If it is found that it should not be listed, the notice lapses. If it is found that it should be listed, it is added to the register of listed building.


The council may also issue notices requiring that essential repairs be carried out on buildings which may fall into disrepair. If these repairs are not completed, it can lead to compulsory acquisition by the council.


The council, in conjunction with the Scottish Civic Trust, maintains a list of Buildings at Risk, and the condition of each entry is monitored. 


For further information about listed buildings, conservation areas, historic gardens and designed landscapes in West Lothian, please go to the West Lothian Local Plan.


Scheduled Monuments

A scheduled monument is a monument of national importance that Scottish Ministers have given legal protection under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. There are many archaeological sites and monuments in West Lothian, of which 52 are scheduled. They are part of our local and national identity and contribute to our history and education, tourism, sustainability, local distinctiveness, placemaking and quality of life. It is a finite and non-renewable resource that contains unique information and reflects the lives of people who lived in the area over the past 10,000 years.

Prior written consent of Scottish Ministers is required for most works, including repairs, to scheduled monuments. Any person carrying out unauthorised works or allowing unauthorised works to be carried out on a scheduled monument, commits of a criminal offence. In order to obtain further information or to make a scheduled monument consent application, you should contact Historic Scotland, details below.

Scheduled Monument Consent
Historic Scotland, Longmore House, Salisbury Place, Edinburgh, EH9 1SH
Tel: +44 (0) 131 668 8716  



Updated 02/07/13

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