Conservation Areas


Conservation areas those parts of towns, villages or parishes which have special architectural or historic interest.  They are often centred on listed buildings, but not always.  Groups of attractive buildings, a historic street pattern, attractive commons, greens or other open spaces, registered historic parks and gardens, ancient landscapes or monuments may also be suitable for designation as conservation areas.

A conservation area is an ‘area of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance’ (Section 69 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990). A conservation area may be the historic centre of a town or village, an older unspoilt residential area, or an important country house in large landscaped grounds.

The designation of a conservation area introduces special controls, including the requirement of planning application from the Council to demolish any building or part of a building or to carry out works on unprotected trees. These restrictions aim to ensure that the special architectural and historic interest of an area is retained for the benefit of local residents, businesses, visitors and future generations.

The Civic Amenities Act which first allowed conservation areas to be designated was passed in 1967. There are now more than 8000 conservation areas in England alone. In the decade before this Act there had been numerous examples of the historic parts of our cities, towns and villages being ruined in the enthusiasm for new development. Little recognition was given to the importance of the older, historic areas. Such areas are part our cultural heritage and national identity. They are irreplaceable records that contribute, through formal education and in many other ways, to our understanding of both the present and the past.

If you live or work in a conservation area it is important to understand that it is not just another example of town planning jargon that need not concern you. In fact the opposite is true; conservation areas are of vital importance to the value of your home or business, and your enjoyment of its surroundings.

Conservation areas within Epping Forest District

The council has designated twenty-five conservation areas. These include;

- historic centres of towns (for example, Epping, Chipping Ongar and Waltham Abbey);
- village centres (for example, Abridge, Roydon, Chigwell and Moreton);
- historic landscapes (for example, the Royal Gunpowder Factory in Waltham Abbey and the Maltings in Lower Sheering);
- registered historic parks and gardens (for example, Copped Hall, Blake Hall and Hill Hall); and
- small hamlets (for example, Abbess Roding, Matching and Coopersale Street).

Find out more information on each conservation area, including recent character appraisals:

Abbess Roding Conservation Area

Church St Edmunds

Abbess Roding is one of the eight hamlets and villages collectively known as 'The Rodings' which lie either side of the River Roding between Great Dunmow and Chipping Ongar. Its name derives from the Abbess of Barking who was a patron of the Parish Church of St. Edmund and a local landowner in the Middle Ages. The church provides the focal point of the settlement and dates largely from the 14th century, although it has even earlier origins.

The hamlet has evolved linearly in a north/south direction along the main road. All the buildings are set well back from the road within large plots. Wide verges lined bymature trees and hedges create an arcadian character and buildings are contained within a landscape-dominated setting.

There are several listed buildings in Abbess Roding including: Abbess Hall Farm (late 16th century house, garden wall, pump, early 16th century granary and late 16th century barn);  St. Edmund's Church; the Old Post Office cottages (early 17th century); and Clare House (late 16th century).

Abridge Conservation Area

Roding Hall, Locally Listed Building The village of Abridge lies on the historically important coaching route between London and Chipping Ongar and has been an important crossing point of the River Roding for many centuries. The boundary of the Conservation Area includes the historic core of the village which is evident on the Chapman and Andre Map of 1777.

Market Place has a mixed residential and commercial character which adds to the vitality of the space. There are several prominent listed buildings in the Market Place the oldest of which is the 'hall house' (known as the Coach House), which dates from the 14th century and is listed Grade II*. It is of exceptional interest because it is a rare survivor of a type of house, formerly common, in which the walls of the hall were no higher than the lower storey of the crosswing (most were raised when a floor or chimney was inserted in the 16th century).

Other listed buildings include the Blue Boar Inn (early 19th century), the group of medieval buildings that form the Roding Restaurant, the 18th century house immediately north east of the restaurant, Roding House (late medieval) and River Cottage in Ongar Road, and The Maltsters Arms (18th century).


Baldwins Hill (Loughton) Conservation Area

29 - 35 Baldwins Hill, Grade II Listed Building

Baldwins Hill forms part of the area of Loughton known locally as 'The Hills' - Baldwins Hill, York Hill, Kings Hill, Pump Hill and Woodbury Hill all lie on a ridge which overlooks Epping Forest.

Towards the end of the 19th century, Loughton, and the Hills area in particular, became very popular with a number of artists and intellectuals because of their proximity to Epping Forest. The sculptor Sir Jacob Epstein (1880-1959) lived at 'Deerhurst' (50 Baldwins Hill) between 1935 and 1956.

There is a diversity of architectural styles in the area (including a wooden chalet imported from Switzerland in 1849!) but most houses are of Victorian style. All the building plots on the west side of Baldwins Hill were enclosed from the Forest before the passing of the Epping Forest Act of 1878. However, the Act did allow houses already illegally established to remain.

Bell Common (Epping) Conservation Area

Epping Place, Grade II* Listed BuildingBell Common provides an important transition in the landscape between Epping Forest and the built-up area which forms the outskirts of Epping. The area was once known as ‘Beacon Common’ and it has been suggested that the settlement of Epping Heath (Epping) was founded to maintain an ancient beacon. High Road became a toll road in the late 18th century and the southern toll gate stood close by the turning to Ivy Chimneys (Theydon Road) - the toll house was Belle Vue house. The nearby Forest Gate Inn perpetuates the memory.

Bell Common is no longer managed as a common and it is rapidly being taken over by scrub and young woodland. There are two groups of attractive 19th century cottages along the High Road (Griffins Wood Cottages and Creeds Cottages) which were built for workers from the Copped Hall Estate. On the south side of the common there are several small, traditional weather boarded cottages - No.49 (18th century), No.73 (early 17th century), and Nos.115 and 117 (c.1600), which are all listed. Creeds Farmhouse (18th century), Highfield Cottage and Apple Tree Cottage (16/17th century), also form an attractive group of listed buildings at the junction of Bury Lane.

Blake Hall (Bobbingworth) Conservation Area

Church of St Germain, Grade II*This Conservation Area encompasses the Registered Historic Park and Gardens of Blake Hall and the historic hamlet of Bobbingworth. Blake Hall is sited on a slightly raised spur of ground stretching down from Bobbingworth to the north-west. The ground falls gently away from the north-east round to the south-west. The setting of the Hall is characterised by its open parkland landscape, particularly to the east and west of the house. Woodland lines both sides of the southern approach drive, and there are other areas of substantial woodland to the north and along the eastern boundary of the Park.

Blake Hall has been the home of the Capel-Cure family since 1789 and the gardens are regularly open to the public. The house, which incorporates a 17th century or older fabric, was largely rebuilt in the 18th century and further remodelled in 1822 by George Basevi. It was extended c.1840 by the addition of a south wing which was gutted in World War II for use by the RAF as the Sector Operations Room. The house is Grade II* listed and there are several listed outbuildings and structures including : a granary (18th century); a pair of garden cottages (17th century); two 17th century barns; a garden wall and 'ha-ha' (18th century); entrance gates and lodge cottage (19th century); and an ice house (18th century). Other listed buildings in the area include: St. Germain's Church (13th century core); Bovinger Hall farmhouse (17th century or earlier); and The Rectory (c.1839 by Rev.W.M.Oliver).



Chigwell Village Conservation Area

The Kings Head Inn, High Road, Grade II* Listed BuildingChigwell Village once lay within the Forest of Essex on the main coaching route between London and Chipping Ongar (the High Road). The village boasts five Grade II* listed buildings, four of which are in the Conservation Area - Chigwell School (c.1620); the King's Head Inn (17th century); St. Mary's Church (12th century), and Grange Court (late 18th century house).

The King's Head Inn is a picturesque building of three storeys with attics and cellars and exposed timber framing, although it was once completely rendered. Each upper storey overhangs the one below as a 'jetty', and there are five differently sized gables. The Inn is referred to in ‘Barnaby Rudge’ by Charles Dickens as The Maypole, and is described as having "more gable ends than a lazy man would care to count on a sunny day". The historic core of the village remains virtually unaltered with relatively few modern buildings. This state of preservation has been aided by historic restrictions on private building and is particularly evident on the north side of the High Road.

Chipping Ongar Conservation Area

191-195, High Street, Grade II Listed BuildingChipping Ongar was one of the first Conservation Areas to be designated by the County Council and contains over 100 listed buildings and other structures. The town was the administrative centre of the Saxon Hundred and the fortress established during this period was enlarged after the Norman Conquest. The town became known as Castle Ongar in the 12th century because of the 'motte and bailey' castle, the remains of which still survive. The line of the former medieval town enclosure can also be traced to the north and south of the inner bailey, around the Pleasance car park and along Castle Street.

The oldest surviving building in the town is St Martin's Church, the chancel and nave of which date from the 11th century. The White House and Castle House are the largest houses in the town which date from the 16th century. The only other building from this period which still stands within the town enclosure is the Old Market House - No. 171 High Street - which housed the market in the 1840's.

The form and layout of the historic core of the town have changed little since the medieval period. A weekly market started in the 12th century and the market place is still apparent as the widest part of the High Street between Wren House and Manor House. The town was an important staging place for travellers from London to East Anglia and by 1848 coaches departed on a daily basis from the King's Head Inn. The railway service to London, which opened in 1865, brought prosperity and change to the town with a wealth of Victorian buildings, including a police station (now demolished), Budworth Hall and the local water works.

The character of the High Street derives from: the strong building lines; the gentle curve of the street which offers a series of attractive vistas; 'pinch point' buildings which mark entry/exit points to the former town enclosure; views into the surrounding countryside; and prominent public buildings which form local landmarks.

Coopersale Street Conservation Area

Theydon Oak Inn, Grade II Listed BuildingCoopersale Street is a small, dispersed, linear settlement which lies one mile south-east of Epping at the bottom of Stonards and Houblons Hills. The oldest building in the area is Coopersale Lodge, a timber-framed 'hall house' with two cross wings which dates from the mid 15th century. Other listed buildings include: ‘Yeomans’ (16th century - formerly a terrace of four cottages); No.26 Coopersale Street and adjoining barn (16th century); the Theydon Oak Inn (18th century); and South Lodge at the entrance to Gaynes Park (16/17th century cottage).

Most of the buildings in the Conservation Area are set within large gardens, often containing significant groups of trees and hedgerows that help to define the property boundaries. The almost haphazard arrangement of buildings emphasises the dispersed nature of the settlement and the spaces between the buildings are important in maintaining this character.


Copped Hall Conservation Area

Copped Hall, Grade II Listed BuildingCopped Hall is an ancient hunting park and rural estate dating from the 12th century or earlier. Its character derives from its elevated, countryside location at the edge of Epping Forest. The mansion itself forms a dramatic focal point and architectural set-piece at the end of a ridge of land that extends from the edge of Epping Forest. The range, scale and historic interest of the former service outbuildings, estate workers cottages, model farm buildings and other structures, and their historic relationships to the mansion also form a key part of the character of the area.

The present mansion is the visual centrepiece and focus of the 18th century landscaped parkland. It was built between 1751 and 1758 by John Conyers to the designs of John Sanderson and replaced the Tudor mansion, built for Queen Elizabeth's Vice-Chamberlain Thomas Heneage in 1564-68, which stood 250 metres to the North West - a small part of which still remains.

The Georgian mansion was sold to George Wythes in 1869 and his grandson, Edward James Wythes, carried out extensive improvements to the house and its grounds to the designs of the architect C.E. Kempe between 1883 and 1905. The house was transformed into an ornate Victorian mansion with a new extension (servant’s wing) to the north and a conservatory to the south. An Italianate two level, 'parterre' garden was added to the west together with a causeway, two garden pavilions and a 'ha-ha'. The mansion, its outbuildings and gardens are now owned by the Copped Hall Trust.

The mansion is listed Grade II and the parkland to the west and south of the Hall is included in the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens (Grade II*). The rackets court, conservatory, garden pavilions, garden causeway, terrace walls, ha-ha and walled kitchen garden are also listed Grade II. Other listed buildings in the area include The Wood House (1895 by C.E. Kempe), Paris Hall (18th century house), the East and West Lodges in Crown Hill (1775 by James Wyatt), and Raveners farmhouse, Copthall Green (18th century).

Epping Conservation Area

Cock Hotel, High Street, Grade II Listed BuildingEpping, a small community of a few scattered farms and a chapel on the edge of the forest, is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086. However, the settlement referred to is known today as Epping Upland. It is not known for certain when the present day Epping was first settled. By the mid 12th century a settlement known as Epping Heath (later named Epping Street), had developed south of Epping Upland as a result of vigorous clearing of the forest for cultivation. In 1253 King Henry III conveyed the right to hold a weekly market in Epping Street, which helped to establish the town as a centre of trade and has continued to the present day.

The village of Epping Heath developed slowly into a small main-road town and by the early 19th century, considerable development had taken place along what is now High Street and Hemnall Street. Up to 25 coaches a day passed through the town from London en route to Norwich, Cambridge and Bury St. Edmunds. By the end of the 19th century 26 coaching inns lined the High Street. A few survive today as public houses, for example, The Thatched House, The George and Dragon, and The Black Lion. The advent of the railways put an end to this traffic and the town declined, but it revived after the extension of a branch line from London in 1865 and the coming of the motor car.

A number of listed buildings, most dating from the 18th century, line both sides of the High Street although many were substantially altered internally during the 19th century. Some of the oldest buildings in the town can be found at each end of the Conservation Area, for example, Beulah Lodge in Lindsey Street (17th century), and the attractive group of 17th and early 18th century cottages numbered 98-110 (even) High Street.

Great Stony School (Ongar) Conservation Area

34 - 45 Great Stony SchoolGreat Stony School was built between 1903 and 1905 as an orphanage to house the children of paupers. The school was designed to accommodate 300 children in a series of two and three storey dormitory blocks set around a central village green.

Great Stony was completely self-sufficient and even had its own infirmary, as well as classrooms and assembly hall within the main school building. It is a particularly well-preserved example of its type and although the buildings are not of exceptional architectural merit individually, they are of high quality and the group remains complete within a virtually unaltered setting


High Ongar Conservation Area

Church of St Mary the Virgin, Grade II Listed BuildingThe village of High Ongar has existed since the beginning of the 17th century, although in the Middle Ages it was probably no more than a tiny hamlet. The oldest surviving house in the village is the timber-framed and weather-boarded building immediately east of the church, known as Post Office Cottages. This dates from the late 16th or early 17th century and may have been built as the rectory. Part of it was at one time used as a 'lock-up'.

The most prominent building in the Conservation Area is the parish church of St. Mary the Virgin, which is listed Grade I. The church dates from the mid-12th century although it was extended and restored in the 19th century. Other listed buildings in the area include: the village school (1867); the Forester's Arms (late 18th century); the Red Lion (mid-17th century); 'The Mulberry Tree' restaurant (mid-17th century); and Nos 1, 2 and 3 Blacksmiths cottages (late 17th century).


Hill Hall (Theydon Mount) Conservation Area

Hill Hall, Grade I Listed BuildingHill Hall is a substantial country house, now largely ruined following a fire in 1969. The Hall is a Grade I Listed, early Renaissance brick house built between 1569-75 possibly replacing an earlier house occupied since the 12th century, on the same site. Hill Hall represents a landmark in the introduction of Renaissance forms into English architecture. The site is also a Registered Historic Park and Garden (Grade II) covering over 50 hectares, substantial parts of which were designed by Repton in 1791.

The House still contains late 16th century wall paintings which have been described as "the most important survival of Elizabethan decorative figure painting in England." The site is also a Scheduled Ancient Monument on account of its special archaeological interest.

Hill Hall is currently owned by the Crown and is in the custody of English Heritage. The location of the property within the Green Belt, its outstanding historic importance and international architectural significance, are the over-riding policy considerations relating to the future use of the site. A Conservation Area was designated in December 1996.


Lower Sheering Conservation Area

The Maltings, Station Road, Grade II Listed BuildingThe Lower Sheering Conservation Area adjoins another conservation area across the District/County border in Sawbridgeworth (within East Herts District), along Station Road and the River Stort. The two together comprise an extensive group of mid-late 19th century Maltings which lie either side of the London-Cambridge railway line.

Listed Grade II, the buildings were constructed for the local malting company H A and D Taylor Ltd from about 1860 onwards. The Maltings to the west of the railway remained in use for their original purpose until the late 1940s. They are unusual in form in that instead of being multi-floored (like the Maltings to the east), several malt houses are ranged end-to-end. The Maltings east of the railway were constructed later and are both higher and bolder in design. They remained in use until 1983 when the site was sold. The buildings have since been sensitively converted to residential use.

Matching Conservation Area

The Marriage Feast Room, Grade II* Listed Building & Parish Church of St Mary, Grade II* Listed Building (on the background)Matching comprises a unique collection of vernacular village building types: a 15th century manor house (Matching Hall); an early 13th century parish church (St Mary the Virgin); a lobby entrance house of c1600 (the Vicarage); a 15th century public hall (the Marriage Feast Room); an aisled tithe barn of c1600 and a late 17th century dovecote (at Matching Hall). Matching Hall, St Mary's Church and the Marriage Feast Room are all Grade II* listed buildings.

The Marriage Feast Room, built c1480 "for the entertainment of poor people on their wedding day" (Morant 1768), is an attractive building originally built as two halls and used as a school and as an almshouse in the past. The building is 'jettied' away from the church which tends to confirm its secular intention as similar buildings, often designed as meeting places for religious guilds, are usually jettied towards the church.


Matching Green Conservation Area

The Limes, Grade II Listed BuildingThe name Matching is probably of Saxon origin, derived from Maeccingas, the settlement of the people of Maecca (Match). Matching Green has one of the largest village greens in Essex. It’s almost triangular shape extends to 5.6 hectares (13.8 acres) and is lined along each edge by a variety of (mainly) detached cottages and houses ranging in age from the 14th to the 19th century, twenty-eight of which are listed buildings. Since there are relatively few trees, the buildings are important in defining the shape and size of the green.

The oldest surviving building in the area is Lascelles (on the west side), a Grade II listed hall house which dates from the 14th and mid-16th centuries. The Moat House, which lies on the north-east side of the green, was probably a manor house and dates from c1500. Part of the former moat lies to the rear of the property.

Matching Tye Conservation Area

Gainsborough Cottage, Grade II Listed BuildingThe word 'Tye' means a settlement around a common or green and is a fitting description for this small hamlet. The houses and cottages which cluster around the small green at the centre of the Conservation Area afford a good sense of enclosure to this key space. The mature horse chestnut tree at the centre of the green provides an attractive focal point.

The oldest buildings in the area are Ployters Farmhouse and Little Brewers which both date from the 16th century and are listed Grade II. Other listed buildings include: Gainsborough  Cottage (18/19th century); 1 and 2 Shetlocks Cottages (17th century); Shetlocks Farmhouse (17th century lobby entrance house); the barn behind Shetlocks Farmhouse (17th century); and Rose Cottage (18th century, once two cottages). Although not listed, almost all the other buildings in the Conservation Area are of interest and contribute to the special character of the area.

Moreton Conservation Area

Castle House & Shop, Bridge Road, Grade II Listed Building & Moreton Massey PH, Church Road, Grade II Listed Building (on the background)The Conservation Area encompasses the historic core of the village from Moreton Bridge in the south, to the centre of the village at the junction of Church Road and Bridge Road. The village probably developed during the Middle Ages on the higher ground overlooking the crossing point of the Cripsey Brook.

Entering the village from the south, over Moreton Bridge, the road bends lazily to the pinch-point created by two prominent listed buildings - the White Hart public house and Castle House which both date from the 16th century. The centre of the village is an attractive space enclosed by the facades of listed buildings, particularly the Nags Head public house - which was once two houses and dates from the late 16th century. Other listed buildings in the area include: the house adjoining the Nags Head (mid-16th century); Garden House (an 18th century timber framed house); 1 and 2 Leapers Cottages (19th century timber framed cottages); Black Hall (an early 15th century hall house with gabled crosswing, said to have been the meeting place of the Guild of All Saints, founded in 1473); Forge Cottage (late 16th century); and Ivylands (a 17th century house).


Nazeing and South Roydon Conservation Area

Nazeing Park, Grade II Listed BuildingThis Conservation Area is the largest in the District and covers a wide expanse of historic and attractive countryside between Harlow and Lower Nazeing. It includes: the medieval 'long green' settlements of Middle Street and Halls Green; Bumble's Green and the medieval 'closed field' system to the north; and the medieval settlements of Nazeing, Broadley Common and Roydon Hamlet.

The well preserved medieval settlements and 'closed field' patterns are important landscape features which form a fundamental part of the character and appearance of the area. Together with the open or common field systems, these landscape features give each settlement a distinctive setting. Although the field enclosures and patterns are not discernible close to, the area can be clearly distinguished from viewpoints at Nazeing Church and Perry Hill. The area retains its quiet, intimate, small-scale rural qualities characterised by small grassed fields that are dissected by narrow, winding lanes and footpaths and bounded by tall hedgerows and mature trees.

Nazeing contains the largest number of listed buildings including the magnificent parish church - the Church of All Saints - in Betts Lane which dates from the 12th  century and is listed Grade I.

Royal Gunpowder Factory (Waltham Abbey) Conservation Area

Accumulator Tower, Grade IIThe former Royal Gunpowder Factory is located to the north of Highbridge Street, Waltham Abbey, and extends northwards for 2.1 kilometres to Fishers Green. The site covers an area of 77 hectares (190 acres) and is bounded by the Cornmill Stream and Old River Lee to the east, and the Horsemill Stream to the west.

The site has the longest known continuous association with the manufacture of explosives of any site in the country. Saltpetre and sulphur, two of the principal ingredients for gunpowder (the third being charcoal), were being supplied as long ago as 1561, and the town was the nations principal producer of gunpowder by 1662. Legend extends the association back into earlier ages, to the Gunpowder Plot conspiracy of 1605, to the defeat of the Spanish Armada by Elizabeth's navy, and even to the first recorded use of gunpowder by English soldiers at the Battle of Crecy in 1346.

It is known that the site contained gunpowder mills in 1672 and that under successive generations of the Walton family, it developed into the largest and most complete works in Britain by 1735. The site was sold to the government in 1787 and has remained in public ownership ever since. The Royal Gunpowder Mills, as they were then known, were a major supplier of powder to the army during the Napoleonic Wars and, despite peacetime cutbacks in production, manufacture continued throughout the 19th century. The surviving shells of the steam-powered incorporating mills are mainly from this period. Earlier production took place in water-powered mills.

The last 100 years have seen the diversification of production to include nitroglycerine, cordite, TNT, and the high explosive RDX, used extensively by the RAF in World War II. The site closed as a production factory in 1945 becoming the government's Explosives Research and Development Establishment (ERDE) in1947, later named the Propellants, Explosives and Rocket Motor Establishment (PERME) and finally, the Royal Armament Research and Development Establishment (RARDE).

The site can be divided into two main areas. The northern half is covered almost entirely by alder woodland (the original source of charcoal), and is designated as a Scheduled Ancient Monument and a Site of Special Scientific Interest, primarily because it contains the largest heronry in Essex. The area to the south contains most of the buildings on the site, twenty one of which are listed (eight at Grade I and II*).


Roydon Village Conservation Area

68 Cambridge House, Grade II Listed BuildingRoydon Conservation Area extends from the parish church of St Peter-ad-Vincula, which stands at the north end of the High Street opposite The Green, to Harlow Road. Roydon has been a distinct rural community for over 900 years. The Domesday survey notes that there were at least 20 village households in the year 1085 lying at the heart of a 720 acre Manor.

Two of Roydon's four medieval manor houses were located in the village - Temple Roydon and Roydon Hall. Temple Roydon was named after the Order of the Knights Templar who were granted the manor in 1205 at the height of their crusades. Several place names record this connection - e.g. Temple Farm and the Crusader public house. Roydon Hall once stood on a site down the lane leading from The Green to Roydon Lock. Henry VIII displayed his infant son Edward to the people of Roydon at the Hall in 1538. It was demolished in 1864.

There are many attractive, and some unusual, listed buildings in the area. The Church of St Peter-ad-Vincula dates from 1225, and was probably built on the remains of an even older church. It is listed Grade I. Just south of the church and opposite Temple Farmhouse (listed Grade II) are the village lock-up (c1800) and stocks which are also Grade II listed buildings.

There are some reminders of the traditional self-contained nature of the village, such as the Old Forge in Harlow Road and four distinctive pubs. Much new development has taken place in the village since 1950. Despite some unfortunate early estate development, the fine character of the village has survived. Some of the more recent developments (such as Church Mead) have been designed to complement the historic character of the village.



Staples Road (Loughton) Conservation Area

51 - 65 Staples RoadStaples Road comprises an attractive, linear group of houses and a school on the edge of Epping Forest. With a few exceptions, all the buildings in the Conservation Area were built in the last three decades of the 19th century. Some buildings are of architectural and historic interest (e.g. the County Primary School and No.3 Staples Road - Shaftesbury Retreat), although none are listed.

Most of the houses retain their original exterior features, such as sliding sash windows, front doors, slate roofs and brick detailing.

Waltham Abbey Conservation Area

Church of Holy Cross, Grade I Listed BuildingWaltham Abbey is a small market town lying on a gravel terrace between the River Lea and the rising ground of Epping Forest. The Domesday Book (1086) shows the growth of a substantial community at Waltham, dependent no doubt on the college and the shrine of the Holy Cross. It was a market town from early in its history - the right to hold a market having been confirmed by Richard I in 1189. Waltham Abbey was the last monastic house to be dissolved by Henry VIII.

The ancient Abbey Church forms the major focal point of the town - its tower is a prominent landmark from much of the surrounding countryside. The setting of the Abbey Church is enhanced by the character and variety of the open spaces around it; from the tranquil, tree lined Abbey Gardens to the north and east, to the bustle of the churchyard and parking area to the south and west. The Abbey Gardens represent an extremely significant part of the Conservation Area in terms of their archaeological interest.

The Market Square still forms the principal public space in the town and is enclosed by an attractive group of listed, 16th century timber-framed buildings including: The Welsh Harp; Numbers.20 and 25 Market Square; The Green Dragon; and Number 1 Sun Street (Grade II* restored 1992). The outline of the 13th century Moot Hall (demolished c1675), which stood in the centre of the Square prior to the erection of the Market House (demolished in 1852), is traced in the block work paving.

Sun Street forms the tightly enclosed, commercial core of the town and includes a number of prominent listed buildings including: Numbers 1, 3, 3A, 3B and 5; Number 19; Number 21 (The Sun Inn); Number 33; Number 39; and Number 41 (the Epping Forest District Museum).


Upshire Conservation Area

Bury Farm Cottage & Bury Row Cottage, Grade II Listed BuildingUpshire Conservation Area includes the historic park and gardens of Warlies and the linear hamlets of Upshire, Copthall Green and Wood Green.  Warlies is an important estate that derives its name from Richard de Warley who owned land in Upshire in the early 14th century.  In the 18th century it was held by the Morgan family and by 1848 comprised some 477 acres.  The estate was later held by the Buxtons and then purchased by Dr Barnado's Homes in 1915 who turned the house into a school.  Warlies Park House, which dates from the late 18th century and is Grade II listed, has been vacant since June 1975.

The most attractive views of Warlies park can be gained from Upshirebury Green, which overlooks the valley of the Cobbins Brook.  There are also several listed buildings at Upshirebury Green including the particularly attractive group comprising: The White Cottage (16/17th century), Bury Farmhouse (18th century), Bury Farm Cottage and Bury Row Cottage (18th Century).  Other listed buildings include Numbers 1 and 2 Horseshoe Hill (Horseshoe Cottages - c16th century), and the Church of St Thomas (1902).


York Hill (Loughton) Conservation Area

83 – 97 York HillYork Hill is a peaceful residential area that benefits from the tranquillity and views of the adjoining Epping Forest, as well as the survival of hedges which follow and define the historic road pattern. The topography of the area is apparent in the names of the roads; York Hill, Woodbury Hill, King's Hill and Pump Hill. There is a steep and dramatic rise from King's Green (off Church Hill), to the two greens outside the Gardener's Arms Public House at the top of York Hill.

York Hill forms the backbone of the Conservation Area and the close proximity of houses to the street and long lengths of high hedges create the character of a country lane. While there are several areas of 20th century development, the houses have been incorporated into the landscape so that they do not visually dominate.

The most attractive group of listed buildings in the area is at the top of York Hill where the terraces of 19th century weather boarded cottages (Numbers 109-115 odd) form a visual stop. Number 107 (an 18th century brick house) and Numbers 117/119 (18th century cottages), also form part of this group. The Gardener's Arms was originally a cottage (late 17th century) and its garden provides dramatic views of the City. The earliest cottages in the area can be found at the top of Pump Hill (Numbers 20, 22 and 24). These attractive timber-framed, weather boarded cottages date from the early 17th century.




The Local Plan

The existing Epping Forest District Local Plan does, and the emerging new Local Plan will, include policies that deal specifically with development in a conservation area.  In implementing these policies, the council will try to ensure that any new development does not harm the character of the area, and that it should make a positive contribution to the area.  The objective of conservation area planning policies is to guide, rather than prevent change.

Read more about the Local Plan at our Planning our Future pages.

Additional planning restrictions in conservation areas

Special additional restrictions apply in conservation areas; these are in addition to standard planning restrictions and listed building regulations.

If you live in a conservation area, you will need planning permission for the following works:

  • Demolition of a building
  • Two storey rear extension
  • Side extension
  • Cladding the exterior of a house with stone, artificial stone, pebble dash, render, timber, plastic or tiles;
  • Installation of dormer windows.

If you are in any doubt about any of these special restrictions it is always advisable to check with the Epping Forest District Council Planning Services before carrying out any work.


Trees in conservation areas

All trees in Conservation Areas are protected from unnecessary felling or lopping by the 1990 Town & Country Planning Act. The law requires that
anyone proposing to cut down or carry out any work on any tree in a conservation area must give the council six weeks notice of their intentions.  Work may only be undertaken either when permission has been given or the six weeks has expired.

Find out more about Trees in Conservation Areas.


Phone Contact us....

Telephone: 01992 564358

Or you can write to us at:
Listed Buildings and Conservation, Epping Forest District Council, Civic Offices, High Street, Epping, Essex CM16 4BZ

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