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Conservation areas - further information

A Conservation Area is an area of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to enhance or preserve.

Designating a Conservation Area

Whilst Registration focuses on the merits and protection of individual buildings, Conservation Area designation takes into account and recognises the wide variety of qualities, including the historic development of the neighbourhood, which can all be important in making up the unique and special historic and architectural character of an area.

The following are features that Conservation Area status seeks to identify and protect:

  • The historic street pattern and definition of property boundaries;
  • A particular mix or variety of uses;
  • The use of materials or styles local to the particular area, or the island;
  • The quality of  "period" architecture;
  • The quality and detail of contemporary buildings;
  • The survival of building types or features, such as shop fronts, street furniture, decorative ironwork;
  • The presence and form of hard and soft landscaping;
  • The quality of enclosure, spaces between buildings and vistas along streets;
  • The presence of green open spaces and trees as "breathing spaces";
  • The presence of water in the landscape: this might be in the form of a stream, river, weir or waterfall, dub or pond, lake, estuary, harbour or coastline. Other physical features, not listed above, may also make a major contribution to the overall interest of a locality.

For a more in depth understanding of the criteria for Registration and Conservation as a whole, please see the Department's Planning Policy Statement 1/01 - Policy and Guidance Notes for the Conservation of the Historic Environment of the Isle of Man.

Living in a Conservation Area

Because of the special nature of Conservation Areas, there are tighter planning controls and obligations in respect of demolition, new development, property alterations, advertisements and signs.

As a rule of thumb all properties within a Conservation Area are excluded from all permitted development which means that Planning Approval is required in most instances. Any queries should be directed to the Department. Please telephone +44 1624 685950 or e-mail:

Because of the special nature of Conservation Areas, there are tighter planning controls and obligations in respect of demolition, new development, property alterations and advertisements and signs. Below are some useful links which provide some information on property maintenance and building conservation

Where are the Conservation Areas in the Isle of Man?

In the Isle of Man, there are 20 designated Conservation Areas. These are:

Please click on any of the above to view a map showing the extent of the area.

The designation of these Conservation Areas has been informed by research undertaken in either the Cullen Reports for Castletown and Peel in 1971 or the Conservation Area Character Appraisals

Conservation Area Character Appraisals 

In order to justify the selection of an area for Conservation area status, it is necessary to undertake an appraisal of such an area’s character and appearance.

The principal aims of character appraisals are to define:-

  • What influences have given the conservation area its particular character;
  • What chiefly reflects this character and what is most worth conserving;
  • What has suffered damage or loss and may need reinstating;
  • Areas that may be improved by redevelopment.

It is the quality and interest of areas, rather than that of individual buildings, which should be the prime consideration in identifying conservation areas. Our experience of historic areas depends on much more than the quality of individual buildings – on the historic layout of property boundaries and thoroughfares; on a particular mix of uses; on characteristic local materials; on appropriate scaling and detailing of contemporary buildings; on the quality of advertisements, shop fronts, street furniture and hard and soft surfaces; on vistas along streets and between buildings; and on the extent to which traffic intrudes and limits pedestrian use of spaces between buildings. Conservation area designation is seen as the means of recognising the importance of all these factors and of ensuring that conservation policy addresses the quality of townscape in its broadest sense as well as protecting individual buildings.

Character Appraisals are intended to recognise the conservation area’s special historic, archaeological and architectural interest through maps, photographs and analysis of the area’s development.

Douglas Prom Conservation Area Part 1 of 2
Douglas Prom Conservation Area Part 2 of 2
Glen Wyllin Conservation Area Part 1 of 3
Glen Wyllin Conservation Area Part 2 of 3
Glen Wyllin Conservation Area Part 3 of 3
Kirk Michael Conservation Area Part 1 of 4
Kirk Michael Conservation Area Part 2 of 4
Kirk Michael Conservation Area Part 3 of 4
Kirk Michael Conservation Area Part 4 of 4

Cullen Reports for Castletown and Peel

Historical background material on Castletown and Peel produced in May 1971 before the Conservation Area were designated.

Cullen Report for Castletown – May 1971 

Cullen report for Peel – May 1971 


The Department currently has no financial provision for its grant scheme.

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