Conservation Areas are "areas of special architectural or historic interest which it is desirable to preserve or enhance".

The Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 states that local planning authorities should from time to time determine which parts of their area are worthy of protection and publish proposals for their preservation and enhancement.                                                    

There are currently nine conservation areas in the borough.

These are:

  • Welwyn Garden City town centre and residential areas to the west
  • Beehive area of Welwyn Garden City
  • Ayot Green historic core
  • Ayot St. Lawrence historic core
  • Welwyn village historic core
  • Essendon historic core
  • Old Hatfield historic core
  • Northaw historic core
  • Peartree Conservation Area

Find out if you live in a conservation area

Conservation Areas mean that planning policies are in place to preserve and enhance its character and to resist poor quality development proposals that would harm its character.

All new developments proposed in conservation areas should be of a very high quality and sympathetic to its special architectural and historic qualities, including scale, design, materials and space between buildings.

The Council may require additional information to support planning applications to show how the proposal relates to the conservation area and a design statement may be required for larger proposals for new dwellings or more than 100 square metres of new floorspace.

The success of conservation areas often depends on the care which owners take with the maintenance and repair of their properties. Even small changes can detract from the special character of an area. For example original doors and windows should be repaired wherever possible or replaced with ones that match the originals as closely as possible.

Nationally permitted development rights do not exist in a conservation area. Those wishing to make changes to the external appearance of their property, to demolish any buildings or to carry out works to a tree need planning permission. You must be mindful of even the smallest changes which might detract from the special character of the area. It is also a criminal offence to carry out demolition in a conservation area within planning permission.

The Council ranks breaches of planning control as a higher priority in conservation areas and is more likely to take enforcement action against such breaches.

Please visit the Historic England website  for more information about conservation areas.

Please contact if you have any queries or would like advice about a development proposal in a conservation area.