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Case Studies on Neighbourhood Planning and the Historic Environment

These mini case studies give a glimpse into the range of approaches taken across the country. Hyperlinks are included where possible. Plans that are made (adopted) at the time of writing this advice note are marked with an asterisk*

Denstone Neighbourhood Development Plan*

Historic England particularly commended the use of historic characterization when developing the Denstone Neighbourhood Plan. The recognition in the plan of the importance of the local historic environment and the need to retain and enhance heritage assets and Denstone’s sense of place, both of which contribute to the well-being of the community, was highly commendable. The emphasis on the conservation of local distinctiveness and the protection of locally significant buildings and landscape character including archaeological remains and important views is equally to be applauded.

Denstone, West Midlands
Denstone, West Midlands

Martley, Knightwick and Doddenham Neighbourhood Development Plan 2016-2030

The evidence base for the Martley, Knightwick & Doddenham Neighbourhood Development Plan 2016-2030 was informed by historic characterisation undertaken by the community assisted through a one day workshop under the professional guidance of Worcestershire County Council Archaeology Service and with the support of a modest Historic England (WM) Grant. There are design policies aimed at controlling development both within and without the Martley Conservation Area an extension of which is promoted in order to better protect a local geological feature. Other policies seek the designation of a Local List and the protection of archaeological remains, historic farmsteads and important views. A notable feature of this neighbourhood plan is the identification of numerous examples of local vernacular design, traditional building materials and architectural detailing as used in the Parishes existing stock of historic buildings. New development will be expected to respond positively to the distinctive local character thus illustrated.

Clifton upon Teme Neighbourhood Development Plan

The evidence base for the Clifton upon Teme Neighbourhood Development Plan was informed by historic characterisation which provides a context for a similarly comprehensive suite of protective built heritage and design policies. This neighbourhood plan equally considers local landscape character in detail and there are exemplary policies also focused on the Parishes landscape, natural heritage and green infrastructure.

Odiham and North Warnborough (ONWARD) Neighbourhood Plan 2014-2032*

The steering group for the Odiham and North Warnborough (ONWARD) Neighbourhood Plan 2014-2032 brought design guidance set out in conservation area appraisals into the plan as dedicated design policies for each area. These were rephrased to provide robust design principles for applicants and decision makers to guide proposals in each area. Matters covered included the suitability of particular materials, set-back of buildings from road frontages, boundary treatments and the desired scale and form of new buildings. Similar requirements were set out for individual site allocations. The Neighbourhood Plan examiner described the approach as "exemplary".

Odiham High Street
Odiham High Street. The Design requirements throughout the policies in Odiham's Neighbourhood Plan were described by the examiner as "exemplary" © Andrew Smith (cc-by-sa/2.0)

Mancetter Neighbourhood Plan 2016-2029

Quoting from the conclusions of the Examiners Report from the Mancetter Neighbourhood Plan 2016-2029: "It is clear from the quality of the Mancetter Neighbourhood Plan the significant amount of hard work which the Parish Council and its Steering Group has put in over the last two years to prepare a plan that reflects local opinion and which will influence the development of the area in a positive way. The submitted plan has many good features, setting out its vision, objectives and policies clearly, proactively progressing a development boundary for Ridge Lane, whilst seeking to protect the environmental and historic assets of this rural parish.  I commend the Parish Council and Steering Group for their efforts which, subject to some recommended modifications, should influence development management decisions over the next 12 years."

Bredon Parish Neighbourhood Plan 2016-2030*

Policy NP9 of the Bredon Parish Neighbourhood Plan 2016-2030 focuses on local heritage assets and identifies certain buildings, boundary walls and other structures (referenced in an appendix) as being worthy of protection as non-designated heritage assets due to the important contribution that they make to the distinctive local character of the parish. In parallel with the policy, the Parish Council proposed that these buildings and structures are considered by Wychavon District Council for inclusion in the Local List, though the neighbourhood plan makes clear that inclusion of any building or structure on the Local List is not necessary for the application of policy NP9.

Bredon, West Midlands
Bredon, West Midlands © Matt Darby

Milland Neighbourhood Development Plan 2016-2030*

Milland is a rural parish in West Sussex with a ‘dispersed’ pattern of settlement common in many parts of South East England.  The authors of the Milland Neighbourhood Development Plan 2016-2030 wanted to identify non-designated heritage assets across the plan area. Their list is divided into several categories (landscapes worthy of protection, cottages and houses including estate cottages, hamlets, other sites and cart ponds) within these categories they identify 27 sites or places which included archaeological remains and structures used to manage waterpower for the area’s historic ironworking industry in addition to more ‘normal’ historic building types. The categories and resultant list of non-designated heritage assets protected by the plan stands out for the way it responds to the local distinctiveness of the parish, as well as helping to raise awareness of its history and archaeological interest.

Faringdon Neighbourhood Plan 2016-2031*

Lord Berner’s Folly, a 40 foot high crenellated tower located prominently on a hilltop on the edge of the market town is one of Faringdon's most recognisable landmarks and a Grade II listed building. It is visible from a wide surrounding area and featured on an advertising poster for the series "To visit Britain’s landmarks" series commissioned from prominent up-and-coming artists by Shell in the 1920s and 30s.  Whilst Faringdon is expanding rapidly, the Faringdon Neighbourhood Plan 2016-2031 group recognised the importance of the woodland that surrounds the tower to its historic setting and the public enjoyment of its architectural interest. The plan provided protection of this demonstrably special historic significance by designating the woodland as a local green space, signifying that development within it would be inappropriate during the plan period.

Newport Pagnell Neighbourhood Plan*

The former site of the Aston Martin Car Factory (founded as Salmon’s Coachworks in 1830) had become too small for its historic use of car manufacturing and was considered suitable for redevelopment to meet the town’s housing need. Whilst many of the factory buildings were not considered to be of particular historic or architectural interest, a small number, including a three storey factory building of 1910 were identified as positive buildings that were at risk due to ongoing lack of use and development pressure. The Newport Pagnell Neighbourhood Plan identified these as locally important historic buildings and included a policy requiring policies for new development to retain these structures and, to make sure they were not neglected within a larger development scheme, to ensure they were made ready before 50% of any housing permitted was occupied. This provides a strong incentive for a developer to take care of these buildings but also ensure they will continue to serve a purpose whilst providing evidence of the town’s proud manufacturing heritage.

Lavant Neighbourhood Development Plan 2016-2031*

In Lavant Neighbourhood Development Plan 2016-2031, a site containing part of the Iron Age Chichester Entrenchments (an extensive monument dating from the 1st century BC) was identified as desirable to allocate to meet the village’s housing need. Whilst the earthworks (designated as a scheduled monument) would not be directly affected by the development, there was potential that related archaeological remains might be located elsewhere in the site. A criterion was added to the site allocation policy during examination, requiring that any application should be informed by a programme of archaeological survey and investigation agreed by the council’s archaeological advisor and that the development be designed to preserve any remains of national significance in situ. The policy also required proposal to include a robust justification for the loss of any remains that couldn’t be avoided. An additional clause required the creation of views from the earthwork to the ‘Trundle’ a large Iron Age hillfort located a few kilometres to the north east.

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