What is a conservation area?

A conservation area is an area of special architectural or historic interest which is desirable to preserve or enhance.

We have the power to designate an area of special architectural or historic interest as a Conservation Area. Any such designation indicates our positive commitment to these areas and our intention to preserve and enhance the quality of the environment.

Benefits of a conservation area

Conservation areas:

  • contribute to the positive enhancement of our built heritage through careful design
  • support sympathetic restoration and physical regeneration of land and buildings within the area
  • enhance the character of the area
  • economic and environmental benefits

We favour the preservation, retention and refurbishment of buildings and lands within conservation areas.


Our conservation areas

We have three conservation areas in the Lisburn & Castlereagh area.


Lisburn Conservation Area, originally designated in 1992, encompasses the original street plan for Lisburn (formerly Lisnagarvey) drawn around 1640.

It extends from Market Square, branching out west along Bow Street; north along Railway Street; east along Bridge Street and Castle Street, encompassing Castle Gardens. Within this area most buildings still retain their traditional character and appearance on individual narrow plots.

It is the combination of this historic core, heritage of fine buildings and open spaces which create a sense of place and an area worthy of protection.

The benefits of good design and physical enhancement of the street scene, has been demonstrated in Lisburn conservation area.

The Heritage Fund through the Bridge Street Townscape Heritage Initiative has encouraged investment.  Historic buildings on the street have been retained and repaired to replicate their original designs, with numerous examples of high quality shop fronts and signage.

Lisburn Conservation Area Guide


Moira’s conservation area, originally designated in 1983, is comprised of Main Street, which is the thriving commercial centre of the town.

Its conservation area designation seeks to maintain the existing street pattern, building lines and plot widths with the principle of near continuous street frontage maintained.

The Rawdon family, who occupied Moira Castle from 1680, were largely responsible for the construction of the principal buildings and the setting out of Main Street between 1720 and 1760.

Moira Conservation Area Guide

Royal Hillsborough

Royal Hillsborough is an elegant small town predominantly formed in the early 18th century by the Hill family (subsequently the Marquesses of Downshire), who encouraged linen making and development of a planned Georgian town. This included a formal square and significant public buildings such as the Castle, Fort and Court/Market House.

The Conservation Area, originally designated in 1976, encompasses Main Street, branching off to Lisburn Street/ Ballynahinch Street to the North and Dromore Road to the South. It includes Hillsborough Castle and Gardens which is under the management of Historic Royal Palaces (HRP).

Hillsborough which is considered to be a ‘Jewel in the Crown’ of the council area, is distinctive and special due to a combination of the historical and physical characteristics of its built fabric, spaces and landscape features.

Hillsborough Conservation Area Guide

Planning applications and consents

Please ensure you have all the necessary consents before applying for works within a conservation area.

Further detail is found on the Northern Ireland Planning Portal.