In March 2012 the government introduced the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), and subsequently amended in 2021. Part 16 of the NPPF deals with the Historic Environment.
Under paragraph 194 of the NPPF it is stated that Local Planning Authorities “should require an applicant to describe the significance of any heritage assets affected, including any contribution made by their setting” and that “the level of detail should be proportionate to the assets’ importance and no more than is sufficient to understand the potential impact of the proposal on their significance”.
This is addressed by a ‘Heritage Statement’ and should be prepared for any proposals affecting any heritage asset. ‘Heritage Assets’ include:
- Listed Buildings
- Conservation Areas
- Scheduled Monuments
- Registered Parks and Gardens
- Registered Battlefields
- Sites or buildings on the Historic Environment Record
- Locally Listed Buildings
- Buildings, structures and objects of local historic and/or architectural interest and sites of potential archaeological interest identified by the Local Planning Authority as non-designated heritage assets
The Heritage Statement should cover:
- Assessment of significance of heritage asset
- Assessment of proposals on significance of heritage asset
- Justification for works
Assessment of Significance
- Consult the Historic Environment Record to find out what heritage assets may be affected by your proposals and set out their basic details
- Demonstrate an understanding of the ‘significance’ of those heritage assets, and the specific parts that would be affected by your proposals
- For larger or more detailed schemes for listed buildings, it may be appropriate to appoint a specialist to produce a record and analysis of the historic building before works are planned
Heritage Impact Assessment
- An assessment of the impact of the proposals on the heritage asset
- Will the proposal harm, enhance or preserve the significance of the heritage asset?
- How does the design of the new work take into account the existing character of an area or building, or impact on existing historic or architectural features?
- For structural works or works of repair you may need to provide a method statement to show how the works will be carried out to have the minimum impact on historic fabric
- If the works are adjacent to a Listed Building or Conservation Area you will need to consider how they impact on the setting of the heritage asset
- Demonstrate why the works are required
- If there is a harmful impact on the heritage asset, this will need to be justified in terms of “public benefit”, e.g. securing optimum viable use of heritage asset in interests of its long-term conservation
- Have alternatives been considered that would cause less or no harm? If so, why have they been ruled out?
- The more the harm, the greater the justification needed.
For applications for Listed Building Consent, and some within Conservation Areas, you also need to provide a Design and Access Statement. The Heritage Statement can form part of this document, or the two may be addressed separately.