Planning Policy - Conservation

Harlow has 10 Conservation Areas, over 168 Statutory Listed Buildings and 26 Listed Buildings which all contribute to the heritage of the district.

What is the effect of being in a Conservation Area?

Conservation Area status is one way in which the Council can help to ensure that the special character of the area can be preserved and enhanced so that it can be enjoyed now and by future generations of people in Harlow. It can enable the Council to manage change in areas which have a special architectural and historic character in a positive way. The designation of a Conservation Area introduces some additional planning controls:

  • Conservation Area Consent is required from the Council before demolishing any building or part of a building in a Conservation Area.
  • Residents would need to notify the Council six weeks in advance of works being carried out to any tree in a Conservation Area.
  • Where planning permission is required, the Council would want to ensure that development takes place in a way which reinforces the special character of the area.

Conservation Areas in Harlow

Conservation Areas have a legal status as areas "of special architectural or historic interest the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance", as stated in The Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (Section 69).The Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 places a statutory duty on local authorities to determine whether any areas within their boundary are worthy of being designated as Conservation Areas.

There are currently 10 Conservation Areas in Harlow. Boundary maps of each Conservation Area are shown below:

There are three Confirmed Article 4 Directions in the Old Harlow Conservation Area. More information on the Article 4 Directions in Old Harlow

Once a Conservation Area has been designated, a local authority has a statutory duty to:

  • monitor Conservation Areas from time to time
  • review Conservation Area boundaries
  • publish proposals for the preservation and enhancement of Conservation Areas 
  • Consider the views of local people when formulating these proposals

Adopted Conservation Area character appraisals and management plans

What is the purpose of a character appraisal?

Conservation area character appraisals aim to:

  • summarise the special architectural, historic and townscape character of a conservation area 
  • highlight special features of a conservation area which contribute to its character and merit being preserved or enhanced 
  • describe how a conservation area and its setting has developed and changed over time and the factors which have influenced this process
  • provide a robust framework for making planning decisions

What is the purpose of a management plan?

Conservation area management plans aim to:

  • identify issues, challenges and threats affecting the character of a conservation area
  • highlight opportunities to manage and enhance the special character of a conservation area
  • where necessary, provide design guidance and principles for any areas covered by Article 4 Directions
  • review and clearly define a conservation area boundaries, so that they reflect what is considered worthy of preservation