Live in a little bit of British history

ENGLISH Heritage recently expressed shocked dismay at the large numbers of Britain&rsquo;s 9,300 conservation areas that are sliding into disrepair, and started a campaign to preserve these symbols of British history.<br /><br />English Heritage was more concerned about beauty, but these areas also make a great investment. A recent bulletin from estate agent Savills said that over the long-term, houses in areas with a higher-than-average proportion of listed buildings are worth 29 per cent more than those with a lower density. <br /><br />One problem for buyers is that there are strict regulations about building, and it can cost money to meet these. On the plus side, these result in higher quality, often innovative architecture. Nick Pendlebury, of Hamptons&rsquo; developers Ipsus, says: &ldquo;It is more expensive to build in conservation areas &ndash; you have to pay a great deal of attention to detail, materials and styles &ndash; but it forces you to create something of higher quality. <br /><br />&ldquo;And when you get approval to do something more modern, you can get some very interesting solutions &ndash; the old and the new create a fantastic contrast.&rdquo; <br /><br />What&rsquo;s more, there are hundreds of conservation areas in easy reach of the City. We look at five of the best. <br /><br /><strong>PEAR TREE COTTAGE, SARRATT, BUCKS</strong><br />Sarratt is a large conservation area in the middle of the Chiltern Hills, high above Chess Valley, which is designated as an area of outstanding natural beauty and has its own primary school. Pear Tree has been updated and now combines village charm and character with modern comfort &ndash; highlights include exposed beams and timbers, and attractive fireplaces. The five-bedroom house is in an enviable position facing the village green and has a range of shopping options in the nearby villages of Chorleywood and Rickmansworth, both of which are on the Metropolitan Line. &pound;2.25m through Savills, 01923 725500, <br />