11. The Historic Environment
11.1. The district has a rich heritage which has left a fine legacy of historic buildings and places within the district. The historic environment is a vital part of our cultural heritage and helps to contribute towards both the understanding of the past and of the present. The historic environment therefore has a visual appeal, being made up of Listed Buildings, Scheduled Ancient Monuments, Conservation Areas, Registered Parks and Gardens and locally important Historic Assets. The historic environment is therefore of vital importance for education, culture, leisure, tourism and the wider economy. Warwick district has over 1,500 Listed Buildings, 31 Conservation Areas, nationally and locally Listed Parks and Gardens, Scheduled Ancient Monuments and nationally important buildings such as Warwick Castle, Kenilworth Castle and the National Trust properties of Baddesley Clinton and Packwood House.
Relevant Issue & Strategic Objectives
11.2. Relevant Issue: The pressure for new development threatening the high quality built and natural environment in the district, particularly in historic areas.
11.3. Strategic Objectives: See in particular objectives 7, 10 and 14 as set out in paragraphs 4.13 to 4.15 above. Objectives 8 and 15 are also relevant to this topic.
PO11: Historic Environment
Our preferred option is to work with property owners and other stakeholders in the historic environment to both protect the historic environment and ensure its economic viability for future generations. This will be achieved in the following ways:
Support the understanding of the significance of Heritage Assets, by:
- the provision of appropriate research for all applications relating to the historic environment
- submission of nationally important historic assets for listing
- reviewing Conservation Area
- recognising other local assets through Local Lists.
All reviews should be done in consultation with the public in order to bring a shared understanding of why assets and areas are being designated.
Offer help and advice and seek to disseminate information about the historic environment by offering guidance to stakeholders, producing new leaflets and reviewing existing guidance leaflets, promoting events which make the historic environment accessible to all
Protect the historic environment from inappropriate development, by
- Including policies which protect Scheduled Ancient Monuments, Listed Buildings, Conservation Areas, Historic Parks and Gardens, and locally designated Historic Assets.
- Developing guidance as to the interpretation of policies in line with the National Planning Policy Framework.
- Agreeing Article 4 Directions which will be reviewed or introduced as appropriate
- Using enforcement powers will to control inappropriate development or maintenance of Historic Assets.
Encourage appropriate regeneration of the historic environment and high quality new buildings on appropriate sites within the historic environment by
- Developing policies which support sustainable development and high quality design
- providing appropriate advice to stakeholders
- Being flexible about new uses where they bring listed buildings back into use encouraging their survival and maintenance
11.4. In order to implement this option and to deliver it effectively and appropriately policies will be included and justified in the Local Plan. These policies will supported as necessary by supplementary documents.
Justification for Preferred Option
11.5. The Planning (Listed Buildings in Conservation Areas) Act 1990 – provides a statutory background against which protection of the historic environment is made.
11.6. The National Planning Policy Framework, 2012- replacing PPS5 this is a shorter and more succinct document. Section 12 sets out the Conservation and Enhancement of the historic environment. This document notes that planning authorities are required to set out in the Local Plan, a positive strategy for the Conservation and enjoyment of the historic environment. In developing this Strategy local planning authorities should take into account the desirability of sustaining and enhancing the significance of Historic Assets and putting them to viable use consistent with Conservation.
11.7. The wider social, culture, economic and environmental benefits to Conservation of the historic environment can bring:
- Desirability of new development making a positive contribution to local character and distinctiveness.
- Opportunities to draw on the contribution made by historic environment to the character of a place.
- Planning authorities are also required to justify the status given to the historic environment, ensure appropriate significance of an asset is understood, and rectify deliberate neglect and damage.
11.8. Local Planning Authorities are required to determine planning applications taking account of:
- The desirability of sustaining and enhancing the significance of Heritage Assets and putting them to viable uses consistent to their conservation
- The positive contribution that Conservation of Heritage Assets can make to sustainable communities including their economic viability
11.9. Other documents produced by English Heritage are relevant to the historic environment. In particular, guidance documents on the designation, maintenance and management of Conservation Areas and the identification of the setting. English Heritage isdeveloping non-statutory best practice guidance for the identification and management of significant local heritage assets using a Local List, fulfilling a commitment made in the 2007 white paper 'Heritage Protection for the 21st Century'.
11.10. English Historic Towns Forum has also carried out research into the use of Article 4 directions and has found that they can be used successfully:
- within the curtilage of listed buildings
- where permitted development rights need to be taken away
- for the painting of facades on commercial development
- in Conservation Areas to protect character
- to restrict alterations to residential property such as altering a chimney
11.11. Other options would include taking a less balanced view of protecting the historic environment. This could involve not providing advice to stakeholders by relying on the development management process, refusing applications and enforcing without negotiation. Other aspects of this approach could involve the more widespread use of Article 4 directions to preserve the historic environment.