Bushmills was designated as a conservation area in 1991; it lies within the Causeway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty and is on one of the main routes to the Giant's Causeway World Heritage Site.
The intent of the conservation area is to enhance the settlement's historic and architectural heritage and promote it as a place to live, as a tourist destination and as a place to do business.
The local Divisional Planning Office in Coleraine is responsible for the area's administration, a role held until 1989 by the Historic Monuments and Buildings Branch in Belfast.
Progress has been patchy. Planners are expected to give positive guidance and encouragement but they (and our political representatives) have failed to protect those buildings and penalise those practices which currently blight the townscape. The positive response that has been taken by some owners is being undermined by those who buy properties, board up their windows and permit them to slide into ugly decay.