§ Sir B. Rhys Williams
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is his policy on proposals for change of use to permit office development in conservation areas; and what recommendations he makes to local authorities in regard to proposals to change the residential character of conservation areas.
§ Mr. Guy Barnett
A change from residential to office use would almost certainly be a material change of use, and would need planning permission from the local authority or, exceptionally, my right hon. Friend. Section 277(8) of the Town and Country Planning Act 1971 obliges authorities to pay special attention to the character or appearance of conservation areas when exercising their power to grant or refuse planning permission for development within such areas. By no means all conservation areas are purely residential in character.