People in Harlow’s first neighbourhood are being invited to have their say on a direction on what can be changed about their houses.

Harlow Council is consulting on the idea which aims to protect the character and design of Mark Hall North.

The proposed Article 4 Direction would mean that planning permission would be needed to make certain changes to a house.

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According to the council it would “ensure that changes are positive and sympathetic to original housing designs and character of the area”.

Deputy council leader, Councillor Dan Swords said: “Mark Hall North is one of ten conservation areas in the town and was the first neighbourhood to be completed as part of Harlow new town.

“When Harlow turned 40 the area was made a conservation area and as we celebrate the town’s 75th anniversary we want to continue preserving this area’s unique history and look at extra ways to protect its character and original features.”

Some restrictions were removed following consultations over the summer.

Most of the direction now only applies to changes visible from a highway or at the front of a house.

Solar panels or thermal equipment, aerials and satellite dishes are no longer included.

It will also not be applied retrospectively and applying for planning permission for anything covered under the Article 4 Direction will be free.

The council is now consulting on the Article 4 Direction, along with a draft management plan and a document which will provide guidance to people making planning applications for changes covered by the direction.

The consultation document can be read online or in Harlow Central Library, Mark Hall Library, Old Harlow Library and the Civic Centre during normal opening hours.

Public drop-in exhibitions will be held at Harlow Museum on November 22 from 10am to 12pm and November 24 from 6pm to 8pm.

Cllr Swords added: “We welcome residents’ thoughts on this as part of an ongoing conversation around protecting this important area of the town.”

Harlow Council has said it “will take all comments into account when we decide whether to confirm the direction”.