17th century gateway structure in its setting at Victoria Embankment Gardens, London

About this image

York Water Gate, Victoria Embankment Gardens, City Of Westminster, Greater Londo; built for the Duke of Buckingham in 1626 to provide access to the Thames. View from south east. © Historic England, Chris Redgrave, DP1777783

Understanding Setting within the Context of Heritage Assets, Monday 25 and Tuesday 26 March 2019

Through a mixture of presentations, site visits and discussion, learn how to define and describe setting and the contribution it makes to the significance of heritage assets. Consider how, in the context of the NPPF, impact on the setting of a heritage asset might harm its significance.

Who should attend?

This course is aimed at those in local planning authorities and private consultancy that are involved in managing development affecting heritage assets and their setting. This course takes an oft-debated topic and uses a range of theory, case studies and practical tools for “setting out clear procedures for what can be a confusing topic” (quoted from a previous delegate).

Why should you join this course?

  • This course will demystify the theory and practice of assessing the setting of a heritage asset.
  • We will provide practical examples, current case law and other information that illustrates how setting can be assessed successfully.
  • We will help delegates practice a step by step process that simplifies assessing the setting of heritage assets.
  • A highlight of the course is a site visit to the National Trust property of Lyveden New Bield. Harm to the site’s setting was prevented when the courts overturned an approved planning application, in what has become a landmark piece of case law. During the course, we will consider the implications of the proposal on the site’s significance and setting in some detail.


At the end of the course, participants will be able to:

  1. Describe the principles of setting and argue its contribution to the significance of an asset
  2. Explore ways to ensure design is sympathetic to setting and takes opportunities to enhance or better reveal significance
  3. Understand the impact of large scale developments such as renewable energies (e.g.wind/solar farms) on setting
  4. Effectively use the Setting Steps for assessing the impact of planning proposals on setting and significance

Course outline*

18 March 2019: 

  • 13:30 Pre-course webinar on key definitions and concepts around setting

24 March 2019:

  • 0930 Registration
  • 1000 Key concepts in setting and significance
  • 1330 Setting in practice
  • 1700 Close

25 March 2019:

  • 0900 Registration
  • 0915 Coach departure
  • 1015 Case study site visits
  • 1415 Exercise on assessing setting
  • 1645 Close

*The outline is subject to change

Meet the course tutors

Dr. Andy Brown, Planning Director for the South East, Historic England
Andy has worked in the heritage sector since 1989 and has led the South East team of English Heritage/Historic England since 2004. His Doctorate is in prehistoric archaeology, but he has recently published on his current research interest in the origin of the bungalow, reflecting his eclectic interest in the historic environment. Andy co-authored the revisions of both Conservation Principles and The Setting of Heritage Assets and has delivered bespoke training for a wide range of organisations as diverse as Arup’s, The Gardens Trust, Cambridge University and the Royal Town Planning Institute.

Catherine Dewar, Planning Director for the North West, Historic England
Catherine has worked in the heritage sector for 22 years.  She worked for Portsmouth and Birmingham City Councils Planning Departments before moving back home to Newcastle to work for English Heritage.  Here she mainly worked on regeneration schemes and the design of new development in historic areas, leading the Development Management Team in the North East.  Having studied Town Planning with Urban Design she has a strong interest in urbanism and making new development work well in historic places.  At Historic England, Catherine is Planning Director for the North East and North West, leading the teams in providing advice, grants and support for those engaged with constructively managing the historic environment. 

Course venue

College Court, Knighton Road, Leicester, LE2 3UF.

Course fee

The course fee for two days is £370, to include all tuition, lunch and daily refreshments.

To reserve your place on this course please email your completed form to: [email protected].

Our finance department will use the details in this booking form to raise an invoice for your course fee, which can be paid by credit card or BACS. If payment is not received within 7 days your place will not be confirmed and can be given away. If you choose to cancel your place within 28 days of the event we will not refund any costs. If cancelled earlier than this we will provide a full refund of £370.

How to book

To reserve your place on this course please email your completed booking form to: [email protected] and await an invoice from our finance department in the week following. Your place will not be confirmed until we have received payment.

Download the booking form

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