Skip to main content

Conservation areas

The borough has a wealth of built heritage in its towns, villages and hamlets; each, with its combination of buildings, spaces and landscape creates a strong and unique character.

In recognition of this, and to protect their individual character, many of these settlements are designated as conservation areas. There are twenty-five in total.

Whilst most conservation areas are confined to the historic core of villages, larger areas include centres such as Royal Tunbridge Wells, Southborough, and Cranbrook.

Designation of an area as a conservation area is about managing change positively, by respecting the historic environment that has been inherited by us, understanding what is special about it, and using this understanding to encourage excellence when adding new layers to it.


    Open our heritage map to search for and view the locations of conservation areas in Tunbridge Wells.

    St. James area, boundary features

    The Council has made a direction under Article 4(2) of the Town and Country (General Permitted Development) Order which removes certain permitted development rights for the following properties in the St. James area: 1 to 67 (odd) St James Road, 2 to 68 (even) St James Road, 60 to 70 (even) Albion Road, 19A and 21 Granville Road, 1 to 65 (odd) Beulah Road, 2 to 60 (even) Beaulah Road, 52A St James Park, 1 to 9 Georgia Place and Church House, Ferndale.  This direction means that planning permission is required for the provision of a hard surface, usually to the front of the house, or the erection, construction, maintenance, improvement or alteration of a gate, fence, wall or any other means of enclosure that faces a highway, no matter what the height.


    If you live in a conservation area you should check what permissions may be required for any development proposals, including works to trees.

    Please check our development in conservation areas and trees pages in our planning support services section.


    The Council, together with other agencies and the local community, are the stewards of these important historic assets so that future generations may also be able to enjoy them.

    Residents and business people who live and work in such areas take responsibility for maintaining their properties and their gardens, and it is these combined elements which help to maintain the character and appearance of conservation areas.

    Research shows that people place a high value on the historic environment – the places in which we live are in many cases layered with years and years of human activity. Each generation inherits this sense of place and should make decisions about the future based on the historic context of this inheritance.

    Local authorities are given powers to designate conservation areas as a way of recognising their special character, whether it is architectural, historic, or different combinations of both. It is a celebration of unique characteristics of a neighbourhood or place, which seeks to maintain this without trying to preserve it unchanged. Conservation Area Appraisals are a first step to this in clearly identifying what it is about the character or appearance that should be preserved, but also what could be managed and enhanced, and then setting out the means by which that objective is to be pursued.

    The Council's role also is to ensure that development preserves or enhances the historic and architectural character and appearance of conservation areas by promoting good design and applying additional controls over development where appropriate.

    It is the aim of the Council to involve residents in the appraisal exercises and to promote community-led appraisal work where possible. Historic England provides detailed guidance on this in their Conservation Areas and Your Home web pages.

    Energy efficiency and historic buildings

    Historic buildings, including listed buildings, are almost always able to accommodate appropriate measures to make them more energy efficient. The Historic England website has a series of free to download publications with further advice on the various measures that can be taken, and what may need consent.

    Conservation AreaDesignationModifications Review / adoption
    Benenden 12 Dec 1974 16 Jan 92
    20 Apr 05 
    Apr 05
    Bidborough 11 Jan 90   
    Brenchley 27 Jun 69 12 Apr 90  
    Cranbrook 8 Jan 71 13 Nov 80
    16 Jan 92
    6 Nov 97
    Jun 10
    Frittenden 12 Dec 74 16 Jan 92  
    Goudhurst 13 Feb 70 16 Jan 92
    13 Jul 05
    Jun 06
    Hawkhurst - The Moor 26 Nov 71 16 Jan 92
    23 Sep 99
    Sep 99
    Hawkhurst - Highgate and All Saints Church 26 Nov 71 16 Jan 92
    23 Sep 99
    Sep 99
    Horsmonden 12 Oct 79 16 Jan 92  
    Iden Green (Benenden) 2 Nov 73 16 Jan 92
    20 Apr 05
    Apr 05
    Kilndown 30 Oct 81 13 Jul 05 Jun 06
    Lamberhurst 6 Aug 71 16 Jan 92
    9 Oct 02
    Jul 02
    Lamberhurst - the Down 16 Jan 92 18 Jul 02
    9 Oct 02
    Jul 02
    Langton Green 3 Aug 73 13 Sep 90 Jul 06
    Matfield Green 26 Nov 71 16 Jan 92  
    Pembury 5 Nov 76 11 Jun 92
    2 Apr 98
    Apr 98
    Royal Tunbridge Wells
    Broadwater Down designated separately 1989
    Molyneux Park designated separately 1983
    Pembury Road designated separately 1992
    7 Nov 69 12 Dec 74
    All amalgamated 00
    Madeira Park / Warwick Park excluded Jun 19
    Nov 00
    Rusthall 7 Nov 69 (as part of Royal Tunbridge Wells) 16 Nov 00 (separated from Royal Tunbridge Wells) Nov 00
    Sandhurst 29 Mar 74 16 Jan 92  
    Sissinghurst 8 Oct 71 16 Jan 92 Oct 12
    Southborough, the Common 23 Jun 72 13 Sep 90
    18 Oct 03
    Aug 03
    Speldhurst 3 Aug 73 11 Jun 92
    10 Jul 06
    Jul 06
    Wilsley 12 Jan 89   Oct 12
    Madeira Park and Warwick Park 27 Jun 19   Jun 19