Conservation Areas

Planning authorities have the responsibility for designating conservation areas, which are areas of special architectural or historic interest. There are 30 conservation areas within East Lothian, with the most recently designated being the Harlawhill area of Prestonpans. Maps of the designated conservation areas are available for downloading. 

Within conservation areas special attention must be paid to development proposals. The extent of development that can be carried out in conservation areas without planning permission is more limited than it is in other areas, and permission can be needed for relatively minor work, such as replacing windows, changing the colour of a building, or for garages, garden sheds, oil storage tanks, porches, rooflights, walls, and fences. Demolition in a conservation area also requires consent. The Council must be notified 6 weeks in advance of any work to trees or felling of trees within a conservation area. Please see the further information on Trees.

Our Development Management service provides advice to residents who are considering carrying out any works on property within a conservation area. It can advise you on:

  • the need for planning permission
  • what you should submit with an application
  • matters that will be taken into account in deciding an application

If you have any questions, contact the Duty Planner between 9am and 1pm Tuesday and Thursday on 01620 827216 or email [email protected].

Decisions on planning applications must ensure that a conservation area’s special architectural or historic character is preserved or enhanced. Proposals detrimental to the character and appearance of a conservation area will not be supported.

Conservation Area Character Statements

The adopted East Lothian Local Plan 2008  contains short Conservation Area Character Statements for each of East Lothian's 30 conservation areas.  These note their special architectural and historic character. The character statements will be replaced in due course by more comprehensive character appraisals.

Both character statements and character appraisals are material considerations in the determination of planning applications in a Conservation Area.

How to apply for planning permission

If planning permission is required, you must fill in the standard planning application forms available from the Scottish Government website. Hard copies can be obtained from Planning Reception, John Muir House, Haddington. The forms include guidance notes to help you fill them in. If you need any extra help you should contact or visit us at Planning Reception where a Planning Technician/Duty Planner will be able to assist you. If you are employing an architect as an agent for your application, they can fill in the forms on your behalf.