FM.trackCustomEvent("Added to cart", { "email": "david.thompson@sample.com", "price": 100.21, "currency": "USD", "is_mobile_transaction": true, "return date": "2019-12-30" });
top of page

How to write a Heritage Statement: A Guide to Preserving Historical Significance

Updated: May 21

Writing a heritage statement is akin to telling the story of a place whose historical, architectural, and cultural significance has stood the test of time. It's about capturing the essence of what makes a site unique and articulating why it deserves to be preserved for future generations. In this guide, we'll walk you through the steps of creating a heritage statement that not only meets regulatory requirements but also passionately communicates the value of your heritage asset.


Grade II* House
16th Century Old Hall House - Grade II*

Understanding the legal requirements


The Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 serves as the bedrock of legislation protecting England's architectural and historic treasures. It outlines the responsibilities of building owners, the process for obtaining listed building consent, and the penalties for unauthorised alterations. Familiarising yourself with this Act is the first step in understanding the legal obligations associated with owning or altering a listed property.


Generally, unless you are carrying out a repair which is like for like (I mean exactly the same material, colour, pattern, method of fixing and repair) then it will likely require listed building consent. It's always worth checking if you are unsure because ultimately unauthorised alterations/work is a criminal offence. You can also be service enforcement notices and court orders to put it back the way it was, this could include rebuilding it. Like this ongoing case Punch Bowl Inn - Lancashire


Aligning with Historic England and the Nation Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)


Listed Building - Historic House
17th Century Stable Building - Grade II*

Historic England's (HE) policies and guidance play a pivotal role in shaping the preservation landscape. As the public body that looks after England's historic environment, its resources are invaluable for anyone involved in maintaining or altering listed buildings.


Heritage statements are vital documents that articulate the significance of historic assets within their environmental context. They play a crucial role in managing changes to places of worship, historic buildings, and conservation areas. Drawing upon Historic England's publications, such as "Statements of Heritage Significance: Advice Note 12," "Managing Significance in Decision-Taking in the Historic Environment (GPA 2)," "The Setting of Heritage Assets (GPA 3)," and "Conservation Principles, Policies and Guidance," this guide provides an essential roadmap for crafting heritage statements that resonate with both statutory planning requirements and best practices in heritage conservation.


Furthermore, the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) 2023, offers a contemporary lens through which the planning system views heritage conservation. Chapter 16 of the NPPF, particularly paragraph 200, underscores the importance of using historic records and expertise in decision-making processes regarding heritage assets. This alignment ensures that every step taken respects and preserves the historical significance of listed buildings, contributing to a sustainable future where our past is not only remembered but integrated into our present.


Heritage Statement as defined by Historic England


Listed Building
17th Century House and Workshop - Grade II

The heritage statement assesses heritage significance and would guide any proposed changes in a way that conserves significance and avoids harm. The approach adheres to the principle of intelligent change management and NPPF for the conservation of the historic built environment and Historic England advice notes. The methodology involves the following 5 steps: 


The methodology involves the following 5 steps: 


1. Understand the form, materials, and history of the affected heritage asset(s), and/or the nature and extent of archaeological deposits 


2. Understand the significance of the asset(s) 


3. Understand the impact of the proposal on that significance 


4. Avoid, minimise, and mitigate negative impact, in a way that meets the objectives of the NPPF. 


5. Look for opportunities to better reveal or enhance significance. 


1. Document the Description and Context of the Heritage Asset


A comprehensive heritage statement includes a detailed description of the asset's setting, including its location, and physical, historical, and socio-economic context. This involves examining the relationship between the asset and its surroundings, how it contributes to the character of the area and any changes over time. Historic England's "The Setting of Heritage Assets" provides valuable guidance on evaluating the impact of proposed changes on the setting of heritage assets. This should also include searching local archives and Historic Environment Records amongst other sources.


2. Understand the Significance


The first step in writing a heritage statement is understanding the asset's historical, architectural, archaeological, and artistic value. Historic England emphasizes the importance of assessing an asset's significance within its setting, including the contribution to its immediate environment and the wider landscape. This involves a thorough analysis of the asset's features, history, and the reasons behind its designation as a heritage asset. This should assess the building against the four heritage values.


Evidential Value: Evidential value derives from the potential of a place to yield evidence about past human activity.


Historical Value: Historical value derives from how past people, events and aspects of life can be connected through a place to the present. It tends to be illustrative or associative.


Aesthetic Value: Aesthetic value derives from how people draw sensory and intellectual stimulation from a place.


Communal Value: Communal value derives from the meanings of a place for the people who relate to it, or for whom it figures in their collective experience or memory 


The summary of the above then becomes the 'Statement of Significance' this essential explains why the building is listed. The impact of the changes can then be assessed as to how they impact the significance.



3. Assess the Impact of Proposed Changes


Historic Houses
18th Century Vicarage - Grade II*

When making changes to a heritage asset, it's crucial to assess the impact on its significance. This involves considering both direct physical changes and changes to the asset's setting. Historic England's "Managing Significance in Decision-Taking in the Historic Environment" offers a framework for decision-making that ensures any changes preserve or enhance the asset's significance.



4. Engage with Conservation Principles


Historic England's "Conservation Principles, Policies and Guidance" outlines six principles for sustainable management of the historic environment. These principles should guide the preparation of heritage statements, ensuring that proposed changes respect the asset's significance, its contribution to the environment, and the sustainability of its use.


5. Better reveal or enhance significance


During the above, you should start to understand at the building in greater detail and the significance. This final part is somewhat of a conclusion, summarising the above to essentially state the important points and how the proposal with enhance or in some cases may cause harm to the significance but with some strong justification.


Conclusion


Heritage House
18th Century Weavers Houses - Group Listing Grade II

Writing a heritage statement is a critical step in the conservation and management of heritage assets. By following Historic England's guidance and incorporating a thorough understanding of the asset's significance and context, you can prepare a document that not only meets statutory requirements but also contributes to the sustainable management of the historic environment.



All of the photos contained within this blog AMS SURVEYS have been involved with as one of our many projects. Heritage Statements, Listed Building Consent, Building Surveys, Defects and Project Management.

For assistance with heritage statements, planning applications, or any surveying needs related to historic buildings and others, contact AMS SURVEYS. With our expertise as Chartered Building Surveyors and a deep understanding of heritage conservation, we're here to help you navigate the complexities of managing and preserving historic assets.


To find out more please visit our website at www.amssurveys.co.uk/heritage-services, or email us at contact@amssurveys.co.uk, or call us at 0151 314 6650 for more information.


This guide has distilled key insights from Historic England's publications, offering a practical approach to writing effective heritage statements. By focusing on the asset's significance, its context, the impact of proposed changes, and adhering to conservation principles, AMS Surveys underscores its commitment to preserving the rich tapestry of the UK's historic environment.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Heritage Statements


Q1: What is a heritage statement?


A heritage statement is a document that assesses the heritage significance of a site or building and guides any proposed changes in a way that conserves its significance and avoids harm. It is essential for managing changes to listed buildings, places of worship, and conservation areas, ensuring that any alterations respect and preserve the historical and architectural value of the asset.


Q2: Why do I need a heritage statement?


A heritage statement is required for planning applications involving listed buildings (listed building consent) or conservation areas. It helps decision-makers understand the significance of the heritage asset and the impact of proposed changes. It's a critical tool for ensuring that changes to historic environments are made thoughtfully and sustainably, preserving their significance for future generations.


Q3: What legislation governs heritage statements in England?


The Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 is the primary legislation protecting England's architectural and historic treasures. This Act outlines the responsibilities of building owners, the process for obtaining listed building consent, and the penalties for unauthorised alterations.


Q4: How do I assess the significance of a heritage asset?


Assessing the significance of a heritage asset involves understanding its architectural, archaeological, and history. This includes evaluating the asset's form, materials, history, and the nature of archaeological deposits, as well as its evidential, historical, aesthetic, and communal values.


Q5: What are the key steps in writing a heritage statement?


The key steps include:

  1. Documenting the description and context of the heritage asset.

  2. Understanding the asset's significance.

  3. Assessing the impact of proposed changes on that significance.

  4. Engaging with conservation principles to guide your approach.

  5. Looking for opportunities to better reveal or enhance the asset's significance.


Q6: How can I ensure my proposed changes do not negatively impact the heritage asset?


Proposed changes should aim to avoid, minimise, and mitigate negative impacts. This involves carefully considering the direct physical changes and changes to the asset's setting, guided by Historic England’s conservation principles and the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).


Q7: Where can I find guidance and resources for writing a heritage statement?


Historic England provides extensive guidance and resources, including publications like "Statements of Heritage Significance: Advice Note 12," "Managing Significance in Decision-Taking in the Historic Environment (GPA 2)," and "Conservation Principles, Policies and Guidance." These resources offer valuable insights into crafting effective heritage statements.


Q8: Can AMS SURVEYS assist me with my heritage statement and related surveying needs?


Yes, AMS SURVEYS offers expertise as Chartered Building Surveyors and a deep understanding of heritage conservation. We can assist with heritage statements, planning applications, building surveys, defects, and project management related to historic buildings and other assets.


For further assistance or to learn more about our services; www.amssurveys.co.uk/heritage-services email us at contact@amssurveys.co.uk, or call us at 0151 314 6650.


This FAQ section and other parts of this blog are produced as general advice and is designed to address the most common queries about heritage statements, making the process clearer and more accessible for property owners, developers, and anyone interested in heritage conservation. However, you should always seek professional advice.

11 views0 comments

Opmerkingen


bottom of page