Heritage Statements and Heritage Impact Assessments
Do I need a heritage statement and impact assessment?
It will depend on various factors such as the scope of the work. Local Authorities usually require Heritage Statements and Impact Assessments for Listed Building Consent or planning applications within World Heritage Sites, Conservation Areas or where a project is near a sensitive archaeological site.
The Importance of Understanding
Understanding underpins responsible management of change to heritage assets and also to their settings. Rather than being seen as a burden it provides opportunities for achieving creative, sympathetic solutions. These help maintain and enhance the significance, character and value of a place.
Especially if you are undertaking a scheme that involves extensive change to a heritage asset, it involves time, trouble and cost. Ideally, understanding is best undertaken early on as this can identify potential issues and opportunities that may influence the process
The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF paragraph 128) states:
‘In determining applications, local planning authorities should require an applicant to describe the significance of any heritage assets affected, including any contribution made by their setting. 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’.
Well established conservation principles emphasise that ‘understanding the significance of places is vital… in order to identify the significance of a place, it is necessary first to understand its fabric and how and why it has changed over time’.
What are Heritage Assets?
Heritage assets are buildings, monuments, sites, places, areas or landscapes that are positively identified as having a degree of significance meriting consideration in planning applications. They are the valued components of the historic environment. Some are formally designated, e.g. listed buildings, some may be elements within the setting of a designated building or site, and others may be regarded as “non-designated heritage assets”
What are Non-designated Heritage Assets?
These are buildings, monuments, sites, places, areas or landscapes identified as having a degree of significance meriting consideration in planning decisions but which are not formally designated . Some local authorities identify these as ‘locally listed’.
What are Heritage Statements & Heritage Impact Assessments?
(The scope and contents will vary according to the importance of the assets and size of the proposed project, but all our reports will be expertly researched, evidence based documents that you can rely on.)
1. Heritage Statement.
This describes the history and development of the asset, using photographic, map, archival and architectural evidence. It includes a “Statement of Significance’. Significance comes from the identified heritage ‘values’ which make the place an asset to this, and future generations. This includes evidential, historic, aesthetic and communal values (see box below.)
2. A Heritage Impact Assessment
This assessment weighs up the potential impact of the proposed works on significance, and the justification for those works. It also provides suggestions and recommendations that help mitigate any change.
The potential of a place to yield evidence about past human activity.
“Derives from the ways in which past people, events and aspects of life can be connected through a place to the present” in such a way as to help interpretation. Association with notable people, occupations, events or cultural development or technologies are examples of facets which can add particular resonance.
“Derives from the ways in which people draw sensory and intellectual stimulation from a place” e.g. from the formal design, its execution, serendipity or even simply the “patina of age”.
“Derives from the meanings of a place for the people who relate to it” including for example social, spiritual, commemorative or symbolic aspect.
Whatever the scale or stage of your project we are happy to talk through your queries and ideas.
We have a range of qualifications, experience and special interests, as well as expertise as historians and technical building conservation specialists. We can help clients achieve heritage planning conditions or planning consent, or if you have a period property, simply help gain a real understanding of the site or building and how best to maintain and refurbish it.
Feel free to contact us for an initial informal chat.
How can we help?
Where to find out more:
Historic England (2008) Conservation Principles, Policies and Guidance https://historicengland.org.uk/images-books/publications/conservation-principles-sustainable-management-historic-environment/
Historic England (2006) Understanding Historic Buildings, A Guide to Good Recording Practice. https://historicengland.org.uk/advice/technical-advice/recording-heritage/
Historic England (2016) A Guide for Owners of Listed Buildings https://historicengland.org.uk/images-books/publications/guide-for-owners-of-listed-buildings/