ENGLISH Heritage has hailed Hampstead Garden Suburb as “a benchmark for other conservation areas to follow”.

The area is being held up as an example of how a community can preserve the architectural integrity of its own neighbourhood.

English Heritage today warned many other conservation areas were at risk of neglect and decay.

The English Heritage At Risk register, released each year, identifies threats to specific protected buildings and areas, and today reveals that one in five conservation areas is under threat.

But a statement from English Heritage said the 5,000-strong Hampstead Garden Suburb Residents Association “provides a textbook example of community engagement and a benchmark for other conservation areas to follow”.

It says: “In recent years, it has completed a full characterisation exercise of the entire area, prepared detailed design advice for residents and carried out a street audit, which has led to the removal of dozens of superfluous signs.

“It has also provided match-funding for small local improvement projects, such as the reinstatement of grass verges.”