The type and amount of information will vary in each case; our approach is proportionate according to circumstances. Much of the information we require will be included in your Design and Access and/or Heritage Statement. This is not a checklist of information required by local planning authorities, but when we are consulted on the information requirements for local validation we commend this Charter as a clear statement of the information we will need in order to provide informed advice.
The following items may be necessary for proposals affecting designated or undesignated heritage assets - depending on the significance of the asset and the impact of the proposed changes:
- a plan of suitable scale showing the site, its location, size, extent and context;
- photographs, dated, numbered and cross-referenced to a plan, showing the site and its setting in general and the area of proposed change in detail;
- a statement of significance which demonstrates an understanding of the historical, archaeological, architectural and artistic interest of the site and in particular the significance of those areas affected by the proposed works.
Measured drawings of structures as existing and as proposed to show, where appropriate:
- all floor plans
- any external and internal elevations affected by the works
- sections through floor, roof and wall structures, where these are affected by the works
- perspectives or photomontages, models or computer visualisations, to show the impact of new works on the heritage asset and its setting
- landscape works, to include contours and planting schemes
- other material necessary to provide a full understanding of the impact of the works on the significance of the heritage asset and its setting.
Drawings should be at a scale appropriate to show the impact of the proposals on the heritage asset and its setting, usually 1:50. Plans, elevations and sections of structures as existing should indicate elements proposed for demolition.
A written explanation of the proposed works to include:
- a statement of justification explaining why the works are proposed and identifying any public benefits (this should include a development appraisal where appropriate);
- a statement of significance describing both the overall significance of the asset/s and the constituent parts, with special emphasis on the parts directly affected
- an assessment of the impact of the works on the significance of the asset, both overall and with special emphasis on the parts directly affected, along with a mitigation strategy explaining how harm to significance will be avoided or minimised, with any harm weighed against any public benefits;
- a specialist assessment where any features of special historic, archaeological, architectural and artistic interest may exist;
- a structural report by an engineer familiar with heritage assets, which identifies defects and proposes remedies, when works include significant elements of demolition or rebuilding.
When making decisions on listed building consent or planning permission applications, local planning authorities shall have special regard to the desirability of preserving the building or its setting or any features of special architectural or historic interest which it possesses (sections 16 and 66 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990).
Likewise, when considering any planning application decision that affects a Conservation Area (section 72 of the 1990 Act), local planning authorities shall pay special attention to the desirability of preserving or enhancing the character or appearance of that area under provision.
The National Planning Policy Framework states that ‘any harm or loss [to a designated heritage asset] should require clear and convincing justification’ (paragraph 132). In particular, if the outcome would lead to substantial harm or total loss of significance the documents you submit need to demonstrate this is necessary to achieve ‘substantial public benefits that outweigh that harm or loss’, or alternatively that all of the following apply:
- the nature of the heritage asset prevents all reasonable uses of the site; and
- no viable use of the heritage asset itself can be found in the medium term through appropriate marketing that will enable its conservation; and
- conservation by grant-funding or some form of charitable or public ownership is demonstrably not possible; and
- the harm or loss is outweighed by the benefit of bringing the site back into use.
(National Planning Policy Framework, paragraph 133).