Conservation Area [Character] Appraisals are the first step towards enhancing and conserving the character and appearance of a designated area, although the principles can be applied to any town or village regardless of its statutory status. Each area has a distinctive character that is a result of a combination of factors such as topography, historic development, streets, hedges, archaeological monuments, buildings and place names. Detailed research and fieldwork helps us to understand this character, how it has evolved over time, and how sensitive that character might be to change. This information can be a vital tool in the planning process and can help to inform future development and make it fit in with the spirit of place. It can also be used to prioritise limited funds to where they are most needed.