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July 05, 2021

What is a Heritage Statement?

A Heritage Statement describes the architectural and historic significance of a heritage asset. They enable the significance and special character of historic places to be understood and consequently retained in a sustainable way as they continue to evolve. They incorporate a brief summary of a site’s historical development and a description of its current character, state of preservation and significance and then assess the likely impact of a proposed development on the significance identified.

When is a Heritage Statement required?

Heritage statements are most commonly associated with applications affecting listed buildings (designated heritage assets), development within conservation areas, or locally listed buildings (non-designated heritage assets). A heritage statement is also required for applications which may affect the setting of such buildings/areas.

Rather than solely demonstrating compliance with the NPPF, the Heritage Statement should be viewed as an important practical tool to guide an applicant in developing their proposals. As good practice, it should therefore be one of the first things that an applicant considers when beginning to formulate their development proposals.

It must be included with:

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A Heritage Statement is required in order to get planning consent for a listed building 

What does a Heritage Statement include?

The NPPF states that the level of detail in a heritage statement should be proportionate to the heritage asset’s importance, and no more than is sufficient to understand the potential impact of the proposal on its significance.

You must provide information about:  

The information should explain:  

A Heritage Statement always covers 3 main points:

  1. Assessment of heritage significance : an assessment of the significance of the heritage asset or assets which may be affected by the proposed development, including their setting. (Significance is defined as the value of a heritage asset to this and future generations because of its heritage interest. That interest may be of archaeological, architectural, artistic or historic).
  2. Assessment of Impact : an assessment of the likely impacts of the proposed development of the heritage asset and their setting. You can use the following questions when writing this part of your statement.

      3. Mitigation strategy : a statement outlining a mitigation strategy to address any impacts of the proposed development on the significance of the heritage asset.            This might include modification of methods, materials chosen or design and archaeological or architectural investigation and recording.

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An investigative survey can reveal original panelling behind plasterboard

When does a Heritage Statement need to be submitted?

There is no prescribed format for a Heritage Statement and it does not have to be a freestanding document. it can be part of other documents such as a schedule of works, a design and access statement (DAS), or drawn details that may expand on the content of submitted drawings but this should be made clear in the title of the document for validation purposes, for example, ‘Design & Access Statement and Heritage Statement’. So long as the content of the document is made clear in the title, it makes no difference to the validation of an application by the Authority.

How to submit a Heritage Statement

You can submit a heritage statement online or a paper based application. 

Submitting online:

  1. Read the through the guidance
  2. Use the online Planning Portal website to submit your application

Submitting a hard copy:

You will need to provide:

  1. 4 copies of the statement
  2. 4 copies of the relevant application forms.

How mapping can be used in a Heritage Statement

Mapping is indispensable for a Heritage Statement. Most of the information can be found on the website of MapServe. We are also launching a new service called Site Analyser where valuable information can be found regarding ownership information, area calculation as well as potential building sites. The following mapping products can be included in a Heritage Statement and can help your document stand out.

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                       Location and site plans (Mastermap)                                                                Aerial Photography                                                                           Contours                                                

8 Tips on writing a successful Heritage Statement

  1. All four areas need to be covered (evidential, historical, aesthetic and communal)
  2. Do not treat it as an add on at the end of a project
  3. Include several photos and illustrations to support your document
  4. It is best to be prepared by a person who has good understanding of conservation principles such as a Conservation Architect
  5. Start working on the statement at the beginning of a project in order to understand how the design will impact the the building’s significance
  6. Well-captioned photographs and other illustrations are very useful as a substitute for plain text, and can help to keep a statement concise and to the point.
  7. A good heritage statement needs to be relevant, appropriate and proportionate depending on the scale and nature of the development.
  8. If you are unsure on what to include in your heritage statement you can contact the local Authority’s Planning Service or the Cultural Heritage Team

Examples of a Heritage Statement