The first conservation areas were designated under the Civic Amenities Act in 1967 and there are now over 10,000 nationwide. Areas are designated for their special character, surviving historic details such as panelled doors, original windows and slate roofs making a significant contribution to conservation areas. Preserving these elements through sympathetic repair is important. Unsympathetic alterations, removal of trees and loss of open spaces can damage a conservation area's character.

Gravesham has a total of 23 conservation areas, 11 of which are in the rural areas of the borough, and are generally valued by those living and working in them. Research by the London School of Economics has found that people value living in conservation areas. This is evidenced by properties in conservation areas having higher prices and greater price appreciation, even after adjusting for location and other factors that affect price.

Local authorities are required by law to periodically review their conservation areas and prepare Character Appraisals and Management Plans. These documents provide a framework for future actions and effective planning in addition to being educational and informative documents for the local community.

From time to time we will review existing boundaries and may designate further conservation areas. Those for the 11 rural conservation areas were reviewed in 2016 and adopted on 21 February 2017 as Rural Conservation Areas Appraisals and Management Plans Supplementary Planning Document. It is the intention to review the 2009 Appraisals and Management Plans for the urban conservation areas in the near future.