Policy DES6: The Historic Environment

Open22 Jan, 2024, 10:00am - 4 Mar, 2024, 11:59pm

Policy DES6:  The Historic Environment

All proposals must preserve or enhance the significance of the borough’s heritage assets[1] including their settings.

Proposals which would affect designated or non-designated heritage assets and/or their settings will be permitted where they:

  1. Demonstrate a thorough understanding of the significance of any heritage asset affected by the proposal, including any contribution made to significance by setting, how this has informed the proposal, and how the proposal would impact on the significance of assets affected. Information submitted will be proportionate to the importance of the heritage asset(s) and the potential impact of the proposal;
  2. Ensure that proposals including new buildings, external works, extensions, alterations and/or changes of use respect historic layout, scales, form, fabric (materials, finishes, design and detailing) and any other characteristics that contribute to the significance of the heritage asset(s)
  3. Achieve a high quality design which is respectful of heritage significance and local character, and which makes a positive contribution to local character and distinctiveness and;
  4. Preserve and enhance the significance and character of historic buildings and places when considering alternative uses, make sensitive use of redundant historic assets, and promote the viable use of heritage assets consistent with their conservation.

Development proposals that seek to enhance the energy efficiency of heritage assets or traditionally constructed buildings, will be expected to demonstrate an appropriate strategy[2] commensurate with the significance of the assets that is based upon a whole building approach.

In planning decisions, harm to any heritage asset, whether designated or non-designated, will be taken account of in accordance with the NPPF and, with the legal obligations of the Council.

11.42 The council will seek to preserve or enhance the heritage assets of the borough in recognition of for their significance and their important contribution to local distinctiveness, character and sense of place. The historic environment is a finite and non-renewable resource requiring careful management. Population growth and development will place greater demands on the historic environment and it is therefore essential that development is managed to maintain our heritage assets for future generations, and to ensure that proposals are well designed and do not detract from elements of places which are of heritage interest and which make a positive contribution to local distinctiveness and to the character and appearance of historic places.
11.43 In managing the historic environment, the first presumption is that heritage assets will be preserved and enhanced in a manner appropriate to their significance. It is important to understand the significance of an asset in line with the NPPF definition in order to assess the potential impact. In some cases, an alternative use may be more appropriate in the interests of securing the long-term conservation of an asset. In accordance with national guidance, weight will be attached to the benefits of ensuring a viable use of the heritage asset when making a balanced assessment of such development proposals. Where a host building is identified as a heritage asset, it is important to recognise that, whilst ‘host’ refers to the building that currently exists, in many cases the host building will have been subject to changes over time. In assessing proposals to extend or alter the host building, it will be necessary to take into account the evolution of the building in relation to its original form and character.
11.44 In addition to statutory designations, there are a number of non-designated heritage assets across the borough, including historic buildings, archaeological sites and historic landscapes that do not currently have statutory protection. However, despite the absence of designation such assets still have heritage interest and are thus a material planning consideration when relevant planning applications are determined.
11.45 In the case of archaeological sites, applicants for planning permission will need to demonstrate that any development which may impact on designated (and non-designated) heritage assets has been sensitively located and designed, and that appropriate provision has been made for ensuring the preservation in situ and on-going management, conservation and protection of (whether above or below ground) the heritage asset (satisfying this requirement includes the submission of an appropriate desk based assessment of the heritage asset, and where necessary, a field evaluation) and its setting. Development proposals which may affect archaeological sites considered to be non-designated heritage assets shall be informed by an appropriate desk-based assessment (and where necessary a field evaluation), and the findings of this assessment will be a material consideration which informs the determination of the planning application.
11.46 Where the local planning authority is satisfied that the preservation in situ of non-designated archaeological remains is not possible or desirable, the applicant will need to demonstrate that satisfactory provision has been made for a programme of archaeological investigation, excavation and recording before, or during, development and for the subsequent publication of any findings, where appropriate.
11.47 Where development may affect a heritage asset, applicants will be required to demonstrate a full understanding of its significance and will be expected to address this through the pre-application discussion process. A Heritage Statement will be required for all development within or adjacent to a heritage asset that has the potential to have an effect, including to their setting. This statement must identify the relevant heritage assets and describe how the development will affect their significance and wider setting. Such statements should be proportionate to the importance of the asset and normally include a summary of the site’s historical development, the context of particular features or parts of the site, the current character and use of the site, the current state of repair and the historic, archaeological, cultural, artistic or architectural significance of the site. Recording will also be necessary for any heritage asset where there would be a full or substantial loss. The scheme of investigation, including the Historic England Recording Level, is to be agreed with the council in advance of its implementation and will reflect the importance and nature of the asset and the impact of the proposal. Relevant sources and guidance, including Conservation Area Appraisals, Conservation Area Management Plans, Community Plans, Neighbourhood Plans and Orders, Urban Character Assessments, Landscape Character Assessments and the Historic Environment Record (hosted by Hampshire County Council), along with any subsequent updates, must be utilised.
11.48 Alterations which include energy efficiency improvements have the potential to cause harm to a heritage asset, it is therefore important for an informed approach to be undertaken as to understand not only the functional performance of the proposed alterations but also any harm to the significance that may arise.
11.49 Traditionally constructed buildings (generally taken as pre 1918) do not function and perform in the same way as modern buildings. There would be an onus on applicants to demonstrate a full understanding of the buildings characteristics and how the proposal would impact upon the energy performance. An informed approach should refer to Historic England guidance, the BDBC Heritage SPD and other relevant professional guidance.
11.50 The council has and will continue to pursue a proactive approach to the conservation and enhancement of the borough’s historic environment. This approach will include the production of a programme for the review of the existing conservation area appraisals and the production of management plans and any other necessary studies and strategies to support the conservation, maintenance and enhancement of the borough’s heritage assets. This process will also encompass seeking to identify and facilitate opportunities for the enhancement of conservation areas and the setting of heritage assets which would better reveal their significance.
11.51 In addition to the general approach set out above, an important strategic priority for the council is the enhancement of the Top of the Town area which is located within the Basingstoke Town Conservation Area. The council will proactively seek to achieve improvements of this part of Basingstoke in order to ensure that this area fulfils its potential for enhancement of the conservation area. The council will also proactively work towards implementing the management plan for the Top of the Town area.
11.52 The council will promote and develop the Historic Environment Record (a series of linked computer databases that hold information on known archaeological sites, finds, landscapes, buildings and other aspects of the historic environment) by working in partnership with Hampshire County Council to ensure that there is a suitable evidence base upon which to base decision making at all levels. In addition, the council will continue to list locally significant buildings and assets in order to positively identify non-designated heritage assets.
11.53 The council will proactively seek to reduce the number of heritage assets currently on the national and local Heritage at Risk Registers and seek to avoid assets becoming ‘at risk’ in the future. The registers will be regularly reviewed and appropriate action will be taken by the council to safeguard buildings most at risk. Where evidence of neglect is reported, or becomes apparent during the course of planning or listed building applications, the council will make contact with owners to draw their attention to the risks to their property, suggest appropriate measures and find out their plans for maintenance and reuse. The council will also work proactively with owners in order to establish an appropriate use for any heritage asset at risk. The council will seek to facilitate the bringing back into use of any vacant heritage assets (listed buildings and buildings in conservation areas), in order to minimise future risks to the significance of the building, including through its programme aimed at bringing back into use empty homes. If necessary, as a last resort, the council may use its legal powers to secure the future of a heritage asset. A record of other heritage assets at risk, such as archaeological sites, conservation areas, registered parks and gardens will be kept, with due regard to the Heritage at Risk programme devis#ftn2ed by Historic England.
11.54 In pursuing the aims set out above, the council will have regard to the use of urgent works/repair notices as set out in the Planning (Listed Building and Conservation Area Act) 1990 and the powers of maintenance under Sections 77 or 79 of the Building Act (1984) as well as the use of a Section 215 Notice under the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (as amended). In taking forward any action, the council will also have regard to the advice set out by Historic England.
Implementation and Monitoring

The policy will be implemented through:

  • Advice on and the determination of planning applications
  • Guidance set out in Conservation Area Appraisals, Conservation Area Management Plans, Community Plans, Neighbourhood Plans and Orders, Urban Character Assessments, Landscape Character Assessment and the Historic Environment Record, Including through the updating of such documents
  • Making Article 4 Directions where this is deemed to be appropriate in order to ensure the proper conservation of heritage assets,
  • Working in partnership with Historic England.

The policy will be monitored through:

  • The objectives and management plans of the relevant documents, as set out in the text of the policy,
  • Advice on, and the determination of, relevant planning applications and outcomes of relevant appeals.

[1] Heritage assets include designated and non-designated assets.  Designated heritage assets include Scheduled Monuments, Listed Buildings, Registered Parks and Gardens and Conservation Areas designated under the relevant legislation.  Non-designated heritage assets 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 heritage assets, although they may be identified as having local importance.  In some instances non-designated heritage assets, particularly archaeological remains may be of equivalent significance to designated assets, despite not having been formally designated.

[2] The appropriate strategy will need to meet the requirements set out in the NPPF, having regard to advice and guidance from Historic England and will be informed by suitable heritage expertise.


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