This page sets out Historic England’s advice to support local authorities and communities in protecting the special historic buildings and places in their area. It explains the various roles for managing heritage at a local level, and provides simple advice on the issues, including where to look for further information.
Most of the decisions about how the historic environment is managed are made by local authorities in consultation with local communities. An important part of Historic England’s work is to support local authorities.
Our Local Authority Strategic Framework (LASF)
Historic England has drafted a strategic framework for our engagement with local authorities beyond site-specific casework, to guide that engagement and take account of the organisation’s new structure. Not only will the framework support the prioritisation of Historic England resources, it will also help local authorities to understand what we do, why and how.
Consultation on a draft LASF ran from 9 March to 25 May 2020. Thank you to those who responded. We are currently reviewing the responses to the consultation.
For any queries, please contact [email protected]
We have prepared a range of publications for local authorities, which are available to download from our Local Government Resources web page. These include (but are not limited to):
- Managing Local Authority Heritage Assets aims to promote and encourage appropriate standards when managing historic buildings and places and high quality design for new work to improve them.
- Pillars of the Community is aimed at both local authorities and community groups, and is designed to provide clear, useful advice on when and how to transfer historic places from public to community ownership. The guidance also provides links to case studies, checklists, a glossary, bibliography and additional sources of information.
Historic England supports a network of Heritage Champions across the country. Champions are appointed by local authorities and are normally elected members in those authorities.
They provide leadership, help join up policy and strategy across departments and, demonstrate how the historic environment can be used as an asset to help achieve the local authority’s strategic goals and bring a better quality of life to their community.
Our webpage on Heritage Champions gives more information about the potential benefits of having a Heritage Champion and the support we provide.
Local heritage lists and conservation areas
Identifying and managing those parts of the historic environment valued by local communities is an important element of protecting heritage.
Local designation allows for the management of local heritage through the planning system and provides an opportunity to work with local communities on what they value.
It encompasses both individual places identified by local listing and areas of local character represented by conservation areas.
Historic England's advice on local heritage lists helps local authorities; to identify and draw up a list of historic buildings and places which are locally significant. They can then develop policies and management strategies to make sure that they are protected proportionately and effectively.
Local heritage list campaign
In 2020 the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) launched a local heritage list campaign. The campaign is intended to encourage communities to nominate those locally important historic buildings and other heritage assets which they value most for inclusion in their local authority’s local list, which will in turn help to protect those assets through the planning system.
To support the campaign, DLUHC has provided £1.5 million of funding to 22 local planning authority partnerships in England to develop new or updated local lists in 2021. The campaign is being spearheaded by Charles O’Brien, the Government’s independent adviser.
Local government has a huge role to play in the conservation and protection of our historic environment. Not only do local authorities own and run large parts of our heritage, but they also have a key role to play in ensuring that it is fully considered as part of the planning process.
- Make planning decisions, and manage change within their area. Change can have a significant impact on local heritage assets and, the character and appearance of the local area. Part of the planning process can also include providing advice to owners of heritage assets on how they can be sustainably managed;
- They work in partnership with Historic England on proposed works to Grade I and II* Listed Buildings, major developments in Conservation Areas and the conservation of Scheduled Monuments;
- They often own and manage heritage assets of their own. These assets often sit at the very centre of a community, such as town halls, and historic school buildings and how they are looked after can have a significant impact on the feel of a place;
- They can support local groups who in turn work to protect and promote local heritage assets; and
- They promote local heritage. One way they can do this is through the selection of a Heritage Champion; another is by having a local list and making full use of and adding to their local Historic Environment Record.
Historic England is committed to helping local authorities develop the skills, knowledge, advice and capacity to make the most of their historic environment.
We promote the need for properly resourced and actively consulted historic environment departments - conservation officers, archaeologists and Historic Environment Records. A large part of what Historic England does is focused on working in partnership with local authorities.
We want to improve the quality and delivery of our services to those who are involved in changing or influencing change to the historic environment.
Historic England's Charter outlines our commitment to delivering advisory services for planning and development in partnership with other agencies including local authorities.