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First Steps into Neighbourhood Planning for the Historic Environment

We encourage community groups to consider their local heritage and its role in neighbourhood planning. A neighbourhood plan can help to guide how heritage can be conserved, whilst adapting it to modern needs.

First steps

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, the historic buildings conservation officer and staff at the local authority archaeological advisory service who look after the Historic Environment Record (HER) and give advice on archaeological matters. We encourage local authorities to notify Historic England when neighbourhood areas have been designated as this helps to promote engagement at an early stage. More information about working with us is available in a web page on our role and in our (forthcoming) advice note on neighbourhood planning.

Further advice

We have prepared a checklist below that may help you in tackling heritage in your neighbourhood plan. Additional guidance can be found in our new (forthcoming) advice note on neighbourhood planning and the historic environment. More detail on evidence gathering (supplementing that included in the advice note) is included in a separate web page on gathering evidence; and specific planning policy issues are explored further in information sheets which are available to download from our web page on policy writing.

Conservation Area Management - round table discussions
Conservation Area Management - round table discussions © Historic England


The following checklist contains a series of questions, intended to offer a few useful prompts when tackling heritage in your neighbourhood plan.

  1. Does your neighbourhood include any heritage assets? Note they do not need to be protected by designation to be of interest.   
  2. Have you looked at your local Historic Environment Record?
  3. Have you discussed your proposals for a plan with your local authority historic environment advisers (eg conservation officer and archaeological adviser) and the person at your local planning authority responsible for neighbourhood plans?
  4. Does the plan have a clear vision for the historic environment?
  5. What are the key conservation issues?
  6. How can the historic environment be used to help achieve your overall goals for development, without repeating higher level policy?
  7. What are the opportunities for protecting or improving the heritage of your neighbourhood, or for developing a better understanding or appreciation of it?
  8. Have you considered local characteristics as part of your design policies and how new development can be made locally distinctive, without repeating higher level policy?
  9. What impact will your plan proposals have on heritage assets or their settings or the local character?
  10. 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?
  11. Have you found out if there is a Conservation Area Appraisal or Management Plan associated with a conservation area in your neighbourhood and, if so, what are its implications and does it need to be updated?
  12. 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.

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