Working With Us

We want to work constructively with everyone who needs our advice. Here we explain how you can help us to help you. 

You can help us most effectively by:

  • Checking that we are the right people to ask and whether what you require is not better supplied elsewhere in the public and private sectors. Enquiries on proposals likely to require statutory approvals (other than for scheduled monument consent) should be made to the local planning authority in the first instance.
  • Providing us with as much relevant information as possible at the earliest stage in the development process; experience shows that pre-application advice will save you time and money.

The information we need

To be able to offer detailed advice we need a full understanding of the significance of the assets and the impact of the proposed works on the historic environment. We also need to understand the context, principles and expected benefits of the proposal.

Where an aspect of the proposal has potential to harm the significance of heritage assets, we need information to explain why it is necessary and what measures have been taken to minimise its impact.

The range of information we may ask for can be found in our ‘Guide to the range of information to enable consultations with us’. Our approach will be proportionate according to circumstances. Local authorities are likely to require similar information but the content of a valid statutory application is a matter for the decision-making authority.

Design and access statements

DCLG's 'Guidance on information requirements and validation' (March 2010) explains the need for design and access statements to accompany most planning and listed building applications. It highlights good practice in the use of design and access statements as an aid to pre-application discussions:

Please note the thresholds for when design and access statements are required.

Both the design and access components should be worked on from the earliest stages of the development of the proposals, informed by the current and historic site use and context.

For applications affecting the historic environment the key components of the design and access statement are how the principles and concepts of the proposed development take account of the significance of heritage assets, their special interests and setting.

National Planning Policy Framework paragraph 194 explains how an applicant should set about understanding the significance of any heritage assets likely to be affected.

You can find out more about design and access statements on the Planning Portal.

For the access statement we have produced two guides:

Heritage statements

You may need to produce a heritage statement to accompany a planning application or a listed building consent application. The level of detail should be proportionate to the importance of the assets and no more than is sufficient to understand the potential impact of the proposal on their significance.

If any Design and Access statement includes the necessary information, a separate heritage statement should be unnecessary.