RAF Scampton Historic Characterisation
Characterisation has been applied in a diversity of situations, from the historic landscapes of regions and whole counties, to urban centres and smaller settlements, and now also to specific sites. Although RAF Scampton (Lincolnshire) is the size of a small town, and once had nearly as many occupants, it is a very particular type of place, being an RAF station, opened in the 1930s and renowned as a base in the Second World War. It is also a place where the combined pressures of re-use and redevelopment on the one hand, and a strong sense of place amongst its present and former occupants on the other, could create unnecessary tensions if not handled with care and sensitivity. A range of heritage, social and economic values are attributed to the site, and to the particular buildings and micro-landscapes within it. To manage future changes in a sustainable way requires these values to be considered, mapped and assessed, all tasks for which characterisation provides a useful framework for investigation.
With some changes proposed for Scampton, including perhaps a significant influx of new staff and some major redevelopment, one approach in the past would be to offer protection to the most significant or vulnerable sites and buildings and simply allow development to occur elsewhere, away from the critical assets. However, in this case the principles of landscape characterisation were applied in such a way as to present guidance and opportunity for the site as a whole, while also recognising those characteristics that should be retained within any future redevelopment schemes. This report, by Atkins Heritage, was the first of its kind, and will assist Defence Estate and others to plan the future of this iconic Second World War and later RAF station, taking account of its historic character whilst realising the site’s potential for continuing use.
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