This browser is not fully supported by Historic England. Please update your browser to the latest version so that you get the best from our website.

Tall Buildings, Settings and Views

This page introduces the Historic England Good Practice Advice note to support the management of change within the settings of historic buildings and sites, areas and landscapes.

The setting of historic places

The significance of a historic place derives not only from its physical presence and historic fabric but also from its setting - the surroundings in which it is experienced.

The careful management of change within the surroundings of heritage assets therefore makes an important contribution to the quality of the places in which we live.

Historic Environment Good Practice Advice Note: The Setting of Heritage Assets (GPA 3) explains the concept of setting and provides local planning authorities and those proposing change, with clear advice on how to address and respond to setting issues.

This document represents the most up-to-date advice on setting issues and supersedes: The Setting of Heritage Assets: English Heritage Guidance (2011), which has been withdrawn.


Views also form an important part of understanding setting. Our Advice Note Seeing the History in the View presents a method for understanding and assessing heritage significance within views.

Tall buildings

In the right place, well-designed tall buildings can make a positive contribution to urban life, but ill-considered proposals can have a disproportionate impact on the character, appearance and enjoyment of places.

Historic England has published updated advice on Tall Buildings which sets out good practice in deciding whether to grant planning permission for this kind of application.

This document is intended to support all those involved in dealing with proposals for tall buildings. It supersedes the ‘Guidance on Tall Buildings’ which was produced by English Heritage and CABE in 2007, and reflects both changes to national policy and our practical experience of relevant proposals. We continue to work with Design Council CABE on another joint document, but, in the meantime, this document represents Historic England’s advice on tall buildings.

Building in Context

Building in Context was published jointly by Historic England and CABE (now the Design Council) to stimulate high standards of design for developments in historically sensitive contexts.

It has subsequently been developed by Historic England and Design Council into a dedicated website on Building in Context.

It uses a series of case studies to demonstrate where good development has happened, responding well to the historic character of what is already there, and has related the new building to its surroundings.

It also offers a toolkit for training local authority members and staff.

Historic England Good Practice Advice notes

Historic England Good Practice Advice notes provide information to help local authorities, planning and other consultants, owners, applicants and other interested parties in following historic environment policy in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and the related guidance given in the National Planning Practice Guide (PPG).

Was this page helpful?

Next steps