Homes in an area of old Harlow could be designated a conservation area.
The local council has begun a consultation on whether houses built as part of the Harlow Garden Village in the 1920s should receive such status.
The area was designed by entrepreneur Charles Scruby as a "green" alternative to people living in London.
Official conservation status would require homeowners to notify the council of any work being planned to their houses or gardens.
The houses in question are along St John's Avenue, Manor Road and The Hill which are situated to the north-east of the new town that was built in the 1950s.
'Preserve and respect'
They follow designs made popular by the garden village style that was popular at the time, with steep pitched roofs and pebble-dashed, pastel-coloured walls.
When they were built they were advertised as offering a healthier and greener existence for people living in the capital.
They are credited with having inspired the idea of so-called new towns in the 1950s, such as Milton Keynes and Harlow's new town.
Conservative councillor Tony Hall, chairman of the Environment Policy Working Group at Harlow Council, told BBC Essex why they were seen as important.
"The thinking behind it is to enhance the area of Old Harlow in order to preserve and respect the old-style of development which was there when the original garden village idea was put forward in the 1920s.
"They are quite ordinary looking, but they all share certain features which go back to the 1920s garden city movement.
"I think what it does do is ensures its heritage is going on from generation to generation."
The six-week consultation will continue through March.