The National Planning Policy Framework specifies that ‘in determining applications, local planning authorities should require an applicant to describe the significance of any heritage asset affected, including any contribution made by their setting’ (NPPF paragraph 128).
Heritage assets must be recognised as an ‘irreplaceable resource’ that we must ‘conserve in a manner appropriate to their significance’, and this requires them to be fully understood in their heritage context (NPPF paragraph 126). We therefore require applicants to produce a heritage statement for any works that will impact a designated heritage asset (such as a listed building, registered park and garden, or conservation area).
The level of detail in these statements should be proportionate to the asset’s importance and no more than is sufficient to understand the potential impact of the proposal on their significance’ (NPPF paragraph 128).
For major works this may require specialist services and professionals such as (but not limited to) archaeologists to produce field or desk surveys or a heritage consultant to produce in-depth analysis of historic value. For the majority of smaller works, however, a heritage statement can be produced by the applicant and homeowner.
What to include
Whilst the level of detail needed differs, all heritage statements should include as a minimum:
- A description of the heritage asset. Describe what it is and why it is significant. If, for example, your building is listed you should as a minimum consult the Historic England listing entry and the local historic environment record.
- Assessment of impact. Outline how your proposed works affect heritage significance, including any impact on architectural and historic merit or setting. Common examples may include damage to historic fabric, removal or blocking of architectural features, and division of a historic layout. You could also include positive impacts that support your application, including revealing historic features and reinstating original proportions.
- Mitigation of impact. Outline how you have designed your proposals to limit detrimental impact to heritage significance. Common examples may include choosing historically sympathetic materials and developing a sensitive design that responds to the historic context of the site or area.
- Local guidance on researching your property
- National guidance on researching the history of your property
- General resources for researching the history of your property
- Understanding concepts such as ‘significance’ and ‘heritage value’
- Details on the heritage planning process
- Information on local heritage resources
- The Heritage gateway - This site brings together many different types of resources on the historic environment.
If you have any questions please contact the conservation team at firstname.lastname@example.org.