Heritage Works for Housing: Stakeholder Engagement

Stakeholder engagement is important because it can:

  • Build knowledge and understanding.
  • Encourage diversity of thought and inclusivity.
  • Foster creative thinking and innovation.
  • Mediate between competing priorities.
  • Maximise social value and community benefits through aligning projects to place priorities.

It is a continuous process that is proportionate to the key issues and stages of the project. For example, when buying the historic building it may be prudent to consult with the Local Planning Authority on the principles of proposed development. As the project progresses more detailed engagement will be required dependent on the significance of the historic building and level of intervention proposed.

Through collaborating with key stakeholders and bringing them along on the design development journey it can help mitigate unforeseen comments at the formal planning application or listed building consent stage.

Historic buildings can be much-loved by a community (local or virtual) and there can be significant public opinion on their reuse. Public engagement can bring new ideas and perspectives to a project and can be a valuable resource to provide self-directed research on a building. It can also present opportunities to enhance social value. However messaging requires careful management to balance community expectations and commercial considerations.

Key stakeholders will vary depending on the site and development proposals, but are likely to include:

  • Local Planning Authority officers including the Conservation Officer.
  • Historic England.
  • Local community, including residents and businesses and their local representatives (e.g. Ward Councillors).
  • Amenity Societies (e.g. Georgian Society, Victorian Society, Twentieth Century Society).
  • Other statutory consultees (e.g. Local Authority Highways, Environment Agency, Local Authority Environmental Health, Natural England, County Archaeologist, Access Officers, and Building Control).

The remit of these stakeholders will depend on the type and scale of the project, as set out in Schedule 4 of The Town and Country Planning Order 2015. Historic England may not always have a statutory remit in the process, particularly if in relation to a Grade II listed asset, as set out in the guidance A Charter for Historic England Advisory Services.

Case study: Park Hill

Developer Urban Splash and Places for People
Date of Completion Ongoing
Typology Residential
Era 1960s
Designation Grade II* listed building
Number of homes c.1,000
Location Sheffield, Yorkshire

Park Hill is a post war housing estate built in the Brutalist style and designed around the "streets in the sky" concept. Urban Splash has embarked on the long-term process to refurbish the historic building to provide c. 1,000 homes.

The iconic building had experienced years of anti-social behaviour and had failed to live up to its utopian vision. Proposals to refurbish and reimagine the buildings were developed by Urban Splash in partnership with Historic England. Given the scale of the building, a phased approach has been used – starting in 2009.
The phased approach allowed for the perceptions around Park Hill to change, and for it to become established as an interesting and unique community to be a part of; with design and architectural decisions also being a part of this strategy. The phased approach also allowed the approach to preserving significance to evolve, with historic significance given more prominence in later phases.

Most importantly, the phased approach also supported the viability position. The initial phases were supported through grant funding, helping to establish Park Hill as a desirable place to live, and therefore increasing the value of the asset. This then unlocked the viability for the later phases.

The proposals have been designed with the ongoing support and engagement of Historic England. Early engagement with key stakeholders, such as Historic England, was crucial to the success of the building and agreeing how to celebrate the building whilst also modernising it for current use.

Constructive engagement with Historic England is important…they are super helpful in discussing issues and working through problematic buildings. Historic England are here to save buildings and be supportive.

Tom Bloxham Urban Splash

The developer undertook early strip-out works and intrusive investigations to understand the condition of the building. This informed cost estimates and design development, thereby reducing risk.

Ultimately, by giving the building a new lease of life, the building has saved 55% carbon compared to a new build. Thermal improvements have also been achieved in later phases with a colourful render that also helps to give each home a distinctive identify.

Heritage Works for Housing: Process

Current: Stakeholder Engagement

Next: "Buying" the Historic Building

Heritage Works for Housing

Historic England aims to support developers in their journey to reusing historic buildings. This guidance highlights how historic buildings can be reused, repurposed and refurbished to provide residential development. It outlines the process from buying an historic building to long-term occupation and management; and the key challenges and approaches to overcome.

These pages provide case studies of successful reuse of historic buildings into new homes, creating sustainable and dynamic places to live. Historic buildings are a tangible opportunity to address ongoing industry challenges, including the housing requirement whilst minimising carbon impacts.

Managing Change
The Interface of New and Old
Case Study Resources

Historic England engaged Deloitte LLP to assist with the preparation of this Publication / Guidance which uses information provided by Historic England as well as research undertaken by Deloitte to provide guidance on the process for use of historic buildings for residential purposes. Any views, conclusions, insights, and/or recommendations within this Publication / Guidance are Historic England's alone.