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Conservation areas

Conservation areas have a special architectural or historic character which make them worthy of protection.

Special regulations apply for development in conservation areas. Some types of development which might normally be considered permitted development require an application for planning permission or conservation area consent. Because of the need to consider a proposal in sufficient detail to ensure that it would be appropriate in a conservation area, an application for planning permission in principle will not normally be appropriate. If we receive an application in a conservation area which does not give sufficient detail we will not register it until additional details are submitted. This will normally include details of the design and materials of any new buildings proposed.

There are currently 10 conservation areas in West Lothian and their boundaries are identified in the accompanying maps. The location of Listed Buildings, where relevant, are also shown:

Conservation Area Appraisals


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 of an unlisted building within a conservation area requires conservation area consent requires conservation area consent. You should apply using the following form:

Are there any other restrictions in a conservation area?

  • You must complete and serve a 'prior notification' on the council before you carry out any tree works. The forms and guidance for tree works applications can be found below under downloads.
  • Trees may also be protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) and you can check online if a tree or property is the subject of a TPO by accessing the TPO Register (opens new window). If you encounter difficulties please email the Development Management (DM) Team at with the topic "TPO Enquiry" in the subject line, remembering to provide details of where the tree is located and your own contact details (i.e., name / email address / postal address and daytime telephone number). 
  • Most work to your house which is normally permitted under householder permitted development rights will need planning permission.

  • An Article 4 direction may apply.

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 Council currently has Article 4 Directions in place relative to the following conservation areas:

  • Broxburn
  • Kirknewton
  • Upper Linlithgow & Union Canal
  • Linlithgow Palace & High Street
  • Mid Calder
  • Torphichen
  • Uphall 

Only certain classes of development are covered.

Control of Advertisements Direction

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

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


This page was last updated on 7 March 2024