Historic England wants to encourage community groups to consider their local heritage and the historic environment’s role in neighbourhood planning.
A Neighbourhood Plan can help to guide how heritage can be conserved, whilst adapting it to modern needs.
It is aimed at all those involved in the neighbourhood planning process including:
- Neighbourhood forums, parish councils and other community groups
- Consultants who have been commissioned to prepare Neighbourhood Plans
- Local authorities who are working with communities on Neighbourhood Plans
Before starting to draw up your neighbourhood plan we strongly advise you to speak to the person at your local authority who is responsible for Neighbourhood Plans and also the historic buildings conservation officer who is best placed to help you to develop your Neighbourhood Plan and, in particular, how it might address the areas’ heritage assets.
You could also contact staff at the local authority archaeological advisory service who look after the Historic Environment Record and give advice on archaeological matters.
There is a duty to consult Historic England on any Neighbourhood Plan where you consider our interests to be affected before submitting it to your local authority.
If you are unsure whether this is the case we advise you to contact us early in the plan-making process when we will best be able to help you. We must also be consulted on all Neighbourhood Development Orders and Community Right to Build Orders.
Further guidance on how heritage can best be included in Neighbour Plans can be found in our Advice Note on Neighbourhood Planning.
This Advice Note signposts a number of other documents which your community might find helpful to identify what it is about your area which makes it distinctive and how you might go about ensuring the character of the area is maintained.
In addition the Government's environmental agencies, including Historic England, have produced advice on the need to understand the natural and historic environment in your neighbourhood area in order to better protect and enhance it. Your local authority is the first place to access what information is available for your area, but if there are important nature sites and heritage assets you may need to contact one of the agencies.
The following checklist may also guide you in tackling heritage in your Neighbourhood Plan:
- Does your neighbourhood include any heritage assets (they don’t need to be protected by designation to be of interest)?
- Have you looked at your local Historic Environment Record?
- Have you discussed your proposals for a Plan with your local authority historic environment advisers and the person at your local planning authority responsible for Neighbourhood Plans?
- Does the Plan have a clear vision for the historic environment?
- What are the key conservation issues?
- How can the historic environment / heritage assets be used to help achieve your overall goals for development?
- What are the opportunities for protecting or improving the heritage of your neighbourhood, or for developing a better understanding or appreciation of it?
- Have you considered as part of your design policies local characteristics and how new development can be made locally distinctive?
- What impact will your Plan proposals have on heritage assets or their settings or the local character?
- Have you consulted Historic England’s “Heritage at Risk Register” or any risk register held by your local authority - can your plan proposals make any use of heritage assets on these registers?
- Have you consulted Historic England where you consider our interests to be affected? You should also consult us on all Neighbourhood Development Orders and Community Right to Building Orders.