The policy context
National Planning Policy Framework
The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) Annex 2 defines a heritage asset as:
A building, monument, site, place, area or landscape identified as having a degree of significance meriting consideration in planning decisions because of its heritage interest. Heritage asset includes designated heritage assets and assets identified by the local planning authority (including local listing).
In paragraph 185 the NPPF states that ‘plans should set out a positive strategy for the conservation and enjoyment of the historic environment’. This strategy includes heritage assets at risk due to neglect, decay or other threats. It states that the strategy should take into account the desirability of sustaining and enhancing the significance of heritage assets, the wider social cultural economic and environmental benefits that conserving the historic environment.
Paragraph 197 states that ‘the effect of an application on the significance of a non-designated heritage asset should be taken into account in determining the application. In weighing applications that directly or indirectly affect non-designated heritage assets, a balanced judgement will be required having regard to the scale of any harm or loss and the significance of the heritage asset.’
The Government’s Planning Practice Guidance states at paragraph 040 that all non-designated heritage assets are clearly identified as such and that a Local List held by the LPA is a means of fulfilling this requirement.
The South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP) has two policies relating to the historic environment; SWDP 6 ‘Historic Environment’ and SWDP 24 ‘Management of the Historic Environment’. These policies pertain to the protection and enhancement of the historic environment.
SWPD 6 states that ‘South Worcestershire’s historic environment is a valuable, finite and irreplaceable resource, which is central to the character and identity of the area’ (SWDP, p92). It goes on to state that ‘Worcestershire possesses a wealth of heritage assets from various periods that are locally significant for their historic, archaeological, architectural or artistic interest and a variety of building styles and materials. The informed management of this resource will benefit current and future generations, with its importance being recognised in legislation and policy.’ (SWDP, p92)
SWDP 24 states that the conservation of heritage assets must reflect a sufficient understanding of their significance, including both their setting and their wider context in the landscape/ townscape.