A conservation area is an area of special architectural or historic interest.

There are 15 conservation areas in Hertsmere and we are able to designate new conservation areas if it is considered to be necessary to preserve the special character of a particular area. Designation gives control over the demolition of substantial buildings and provides the basis for policies designed to preserve or enhance all the aspects of character or appearance that define an area's special interest.

Conservation areas in Hertsmere

Maps showing the conservation area boundaries can be downloaded here or obtained from our Planning Team for a fee.

Frequently asked questions

Why are conservation areas designated?

Conservation areas vary, ranging from historic town centres to industrial areas, to rural villages. They are usually designated because of their buildings, but they can also be designated because of their history, architecture, layout or open spaces, such as gardens, parks and greens. Conservation areas give broader protection than listing individual buildings and all features within the area, listed or otherwise, are recognised for their contribution to its character.

What are the effects of conservation area status?

The designation of a conservation area brings with it a number of restrictions which property owners must comply with. This is to ensure that any development will not detract from the special qualities of an area, but will preserve or enhance its character.

Demolition in conservation areas

Within conservation areas no building, or principal part of a building (with certain exceptions), can be demolished without first seeking conservation area consent. 

Development in conservation areas

Conservation area status does not mean that change cannot occur but rather that any changes should enhance the area and respect features which contribute to the character of the area. If you wish to carry out work to a property in a conservation area then you may need to apply for planning permission, even if the work does not normally require permission.

Most types of permitted development (work that does not require planning permission) can still be carried out within conservation areas, but there are some additional restrictions that are included in the permitted development legislation which restrict certain works, in particular side extensions and outbuildings in side gardens. We may also have made an Article 4 Direction which could restrict other minor works that don't usually need permission, so it is advisable to check with our Planning Team before starting any alterations to your property.

It is recommended that you always check with us before carrying out any work within a conservation area. 

Information on how to complete an application can be found on our conservation area consent page. Outline applications are not normally acceptable for development in conservation areas as we will need to consider high quality design and materials for any proposed development in such an area. You are advised to ask our views before undertaking any work on potential development proposals. A design guide gives guidance on proposals within the Warren Estate in Bushey.

Article 4 Directions

In some conservation areas, or in relation to specific buildings, we can serve an Article 4 direction (under Article 4(1) of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995) which means householders need to obtain planning permission for certain alterations to their properties that would not normally require permission.

This means that you may need to apply for planning permission for a variety of small scale works such as changing your windows, adding new windows, painting the front of your house or making a hardstanding for your car. This is to prevent the cumulative loss of character through unsympathetic alterations to non-listed buildings and features of interest.

If an Article 4 direction has been applied to a building outside a conservation area then this may relate to the demolition of the building, but could also include other small-scale developments.

It is always advisable to contact our planning department to check what you are permitted to do before carrying out any kind of works, especially to the front of your property. Failure to obtain the relevant consent may result in enforcement action, which could ultimately require the removal of buildings, structures, or other works.

Please note: planning applications required by an Article 4 Direction were previously exempt from planning application fees. On 17 January 2018 the Governments removed this exemption and a fee is now payable.

Trees in conservation areas

Anyone proposing to cut down, top or lop a tree in a conservation area, whether or not it is covered by a Tree Preservation Order, has to give notice. We consider the contribution the tree makes to the character of the conservation area and, if necessary, will make a Tree Preservation Order to protect it.
Find out more about trees growing in a conservation area.

What does the council normally do in conservation areas?

We consult widely on proposals affecting a conservation area. This might include periodic enhancement schemes including proposals to: 

  • Prepare development briefs for sites in conservation areas
  • Ensure that new buildings harmonise with their neighbours
  • Make environmental improvements
  • Control advertisements and shop signs
  • Ensure that traffic control measures harmonise with the character of the area


We review conservation areas and produce appraisals from time to time. When an appraisal is being carried out we will write to residents within the conservation area concerned to seek their views on any proposed changes.

Current conservation area consultation

There are no current public consultations about conservation areas. Any open consultations will be listed on our Planning Consultations page.

What policies are used to control development in conservation areas?

Our main conservation policy is in the (Policies E19 to E30) which also includes wider planning policies for the area. Policies generally presume against the loss of features that add to the special interest of conservation areas and are used to determine planning applications in our conservation areas.

The Warren Estate Supplementary Planning Guidance document was produced to guide development in the Warren Estate, part of The Lake conservation area, in Bushey Heath and provides specific advice for  determining planning applications in that area.

Contact the Conservation Officer

For conservation advice please use our Pre-application service.