Increasing pressure to develop the original heath in Haywards Heath has led to moves to protect and enhance the "important historical area".
A document has been produced to guide planning officers
Mid Sussex council said the heath, an area of woodland in the heart of the town, had kept its "unique character".
A document had been produced to guide planning officers, a spokesman said.
The Heath Conservation Area is made up of large Victorian and Edwardian villas in extensive gardens, and includes a cricket ground.
According to the authority, pressure to develop the heath has included proposals to demolish houses and build apartments and to construct apartment blocks in back gardens.
The spokesman said the area still "conjures up memories of Victorian society with the large villas" that were used by London commuter stockbrokers along Oathall Road, and "more artisan dwellings" along Sydney Road.