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NHPP Activity 5A1 Strategic Designation Programme

Work carried out 2011-2015 concerned with moving towards making more of our national designation work, such as listing and scheduling to protect our most significant heritage, part of efficient strategic programmes based on themes or areas. This work formed part of the National Heritage Protection Plan, and was strongly informed by thematic research carried out in other areas of the plan. 

Aerial view of a group of 3 former missile launch emplacements
Harrington, Northamptonshire, a group of three listed Thor missile launch emplacements. During the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, its three nuclear armed intermediate range ballistic missiles were held on alert © English Heritage Archives 21741-23

Scope of the activity

This activity aimed to move towards a greater proportion of our national designation work being strategic rather than responsive. This will enable us to deploy our limited resources where they are most needed: usually where threat is most urgent or where we can appropriately prevent a future threat.

View of an elaborate Victorian signal box
A Grade II Listed Type 5 signal box at March East Junction, Cambridgeshire, built in 1885. This is the sole survivor of that elaborate type. © English Heritage

Projects in this activity

There were two core areas of work within this programme. 

  • The first covers national designation assessments, which improved our understanding of specific elements of our heritage gathered through projects in NHPP Measures 3 (identifying) and 4 (assessing character and significance). 
  • Secondly we needed to respond effectively to external initiatives that demand priority action, for example as a result of redevelopment. This involved working in partnership with large scale landowners or through local Defined Area Surveys (see below).

Thematic projects

 We worked on a number of strategic themed projects including:

  • Marine assets: early ships and boats.
  • Later 20th Century Heritage - post-war private houses, post-war commercial offices, public art and education buildings (schools and universities).
  • Public, Civil and communal buildings, in particular public libraries and prisons.
  • Places of worship- Roman Catholic churches in the diocese of Shrewsbury, Brentwood and Southwark.
  • Transport and Communications- Signal Box project.
  • 20th Century Military Heritage Cold War sites and Defence Estates disposals.
  • War memorials. 

External initiatives

Through external initiatives we have identified a number of potential areas for partnership working with large landowners. For example we worked with Network Rail on assessments of key sites along the Great Western Railway and of historic signal boxes. We also worked with them on the Midland Mainline project.

In addition to these national, strategic projects, our Designation territory teams identified and undertook area-based designation assessments. These Defined Area Surveys (DAS) aimed to review designations within an area that faces particular redevelopment pressure and where the designation base did not adequately reflect the identified significance of the place.

Our DAS projects included reviews of:

  • Lancashire mills.
  • Rock art in the North-East.
  • River Aire catchment bridges.
  • Listings in Rochdale and Louth.
  • West Yorkshire mills and archaeological sites.
  • Deserted medieval settlements in Northampton.
  • Rural schools in Norfolk. Arts and Crafts houses in Minchampton.
  • Birmingham Pubs.
  • Chatterley Whitfield Colliery.
  • Archaeological sites in West Wiltshire and North Devon.

We responded to requests for such work from local planning authority colleagues and communities.

Balancing our designation work

The findings of projects in Measure 3 and Measure 4 will generated a number of designation assessments so we are developed a prioritised plan to balance this strategic work with our other commitments.

Designation Yearbook

For key examples of the designations achieved through both our strategic and responsive work over the plan period , see the designation yearbooks below.

Designation Yearbook 2014-15

Designation Yearbook 2014-15

Published 17 June 2015

The third annual Designation Yearbook features a wide range of buildings and sites added to the NHLE in 2014-15.

Designation Yearbook 2013-14

Designation Yearbook 2013-14

Published 18 June 2014

The Designation Yearbook highlights additions and amendments made to the National Heritage List for England (NHLE) in 2013-14.

Designation Yearbook 2012-13

Designation Yearbook 2012-13

Published 17 June 2013

The Designation Yearbook highlights additions and amendments made to the National Heritage List for England (NHLE) in 2012-13.

Expected protection results

This activity will allow for designation resources to be targeted at the most significant heritage assets through a planned strategic programme of work and will ensure prioritised follow-through on the understanding generated through Measures 3 and 4 to provide better protection for the historic environment.

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