Building Heritage Conservation

Cromwell Street, Stornoway

Cromwell Street, Stornoway

Conservation Areas and Listed Buildings

Two important elements of the Historic Environment are Conservation Areas and Listed Buildings. Both are forms of statutory designations which give formal protection to these aspects.

Listed buildings

These are ‘buildings of special architectural or historic interest.’ The statutory duty for identifying or classifying these rests with Historic Environment Scotland. However, anybody can make representations to the respective Local Authority and Historic Environment Scotland that a building not listed should be listed. Contact Historic Environment Scotland (Opens in a new window or downloads a file) for further information.

Conservation Areas

These are ‘areas of special architectural or historic interest the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance’. Local Authorities have a statutory duty to identify and designate such areas.

House, Goathill Crescent, Stornoway

House, Goathill Crescent,

There are four designated Conservation Areas in the Outer Hebrides: Stornoway and Gearrannan in Lewis; Ruisgarry in Berneray; and Howmore in South Uist.

Conservation Area Management Plans (8.1MB) have been prepared for each conservation area.

What are the implications for land and building owners?

The designation of a Conservation Area does not mean stopping new development – it is rather a means of guiding new development so that the character of the area is not adversely affected and the new development respects the character of buildings and spaces.

The character of Conservation Areas depends on a whole host of factors, but greatly on the building materials and finishes used. Some of these materials may have fallen out of general use but are still used in special circumstances. They often cost substantially more than equivalent modern materials. As an encouragement to owners the Comhairle set up a grant scheme to assist with bridging the gap between the cost of using traditional materials/methods rather than modern materials / methods. The grant can also be used to restore architectural or historic detail.

See Conservation Area Grant Schemes for details of the grants available.