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The Sustainable Growth of Cathedral Cities and Historic Towns

The Sustainable Growth of Cathedral Cities and Historic Towns  was commissioned to look at the implication of proposed development on cathedral cities and historic towns, some of our most precious places.

This report investigates the effectiveness of local plan-making in protecting England's heritage at the scale of the character and setting of smaller cathedral cities and historic towns.  It explores how current policy and practice address potential tensions between meeting local development needs and giving proper weight to conserving the special qualities of historic settlements.

It contains case studies that show how some of the cities and towns are addressing the issues on balancing heritage protection against economic growth and how others are having to make difficult decisions.

The report, with a later additional case study based on Canterbury that is also available to download, was commissioned by English Heritage (now Historic England) to gain a better understanding of the issues around housing growth and cathedral cities.

The views expressed are those of the author and the individuals  interviewed during the project and do not represent the formal position of Historic England on any of the cities and towns covered in the report.


  1. The Project
  2. Development anticipated in 50 historic towns
  3. Plan-making for historic settlements
  4. Methodologies for reconciling growth with historic settlements
  5. Overview of the eight case study cities
    Appendix: Canterbury Case Study

Additional Information

  • Publication Status: Completed


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