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Registered Parks & Gardens and Battlefields

The Register of Parks and Gardens

The Historic Buildings and Ancient Monuments Act 1953 (1) authorises Historic England to compile a register of “gardens and other land” situated in England that appear to be of special historic interest.

The majority of sites registered are, or were originally, the grounds of private houses, but public parks and cemeteries are also important categories.

The Register was established in 1980 and there are currently around 1,635 sites included (2). The Register is held by Historic England and can be accessed through the National Heritage List for England.

The decision as to whether a park or garden merits registration is based on an assessment by Historic England as to whether it can be said to be of "special historic interest". Historic England has published criteria against which sites are judged (3).

Sites are graded I, II* or II along the same lines as listed buildings. 62% are graded as II, 27% are considered of more than special interest and graded II*, 9% are of exceptional interest and are classified as Grade I. Applications to register new sites and to deregister or amend the entry for an existing registered site are made to Historic England.

A registered park or garden is not protected by a separate consent regime, but applications for planning permission will give great weight to their conservation. The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) (4) defines them as designated heritage assets and as such their conservation should be an objective of all sustainable development. Substantial harm to or total loss of a Grade II registered park or garden should be exceptional and for a Grade II* or I registered park or garden such loss or harm should be wholly exceptional.

Local planning authorities are required to consult Historic England when considering an application which affects a Grade I or II* registered site and the Gardens Trust on all applications affecting registered sites of all grades (5).  

The fact that a site is on the Register does not imply that the park or garden is open to the public.

The Register of Historic Battlefields

Historic England maintains a Register of Historic Battlefields. There are currently 46 sites on the Register. Battlefields are not graded.

The Register can be accessed through the National Heritage List for England.

Like registered parks and gardens, registered battlefields are not subject to a separate consent regime, but they are considered designated heritage assets under the NPPF and therefore, as with parks and gardens, great weight should be given to their conservation and substantial harm or total loss of a registered battlefield should be wholly exceptional.

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