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Checklists for planning applications

Heritage statements

Where a development proposal has the potential to impact on a heritage asset, such as a listed building, conservation area or archaeological features, a Heritage Statement should be submitted with the planning application.

Heritage assets are defined as:

  • a building, monument, site, place, area or landscape identified as having a degree of significance meriting consideration in planning decisions, because of its heritage interest. Heritage assets includes designated heritage assets and assets identified by the local planning authority (including local listing).

Heritage Statements are needed for any development proposals for planning permission or listed building consent applications which affect any heritage asset type. They are written documents that include an analysis of significance and the principles and justification for the proposed works and their impact upon significance. This requirement follows National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) which states that:

  • local planning authorities should require an applicant to describe the significance of any heritage assets affected, including any contribution made by their setting
  • significance is the value of a heritage asset to this and future generations because of its heritage interest and that interest may be archaeological, architectural, artistic or historic. Significance derives not only from a heritage asset’s physical presence, but also from its setting.

The need for a Heritage Statement is included in the council’s validation checklists, referred to as Heritage Statements and Heritage Impact Assessments. They may also include or be related to documents such as Archaeological Assessments, Desk Based Assessments (DBA’s) or may form part of any necessary Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) or be included within a submitted Design and Access Statement (DAS).

Information must be submitted with any application for Planning Permission (PP) or Listed Building Consent (LBC) in or affecting Heritage Assets. It is also required where development proposals affect the setting of heritage assets. Applications for relevant demolition within conservation areas should also include the supporting evidence and justification.

A Heritage Statement may also be requested if the council identifies the building or site as a non-designated heritage asset during the pre-application or application process. 

Heritage Statements should show and assess the nature, extent and the significance of the asset and its setting. It should be detailed enough that the impact of the proposals on that significance and setting can be properly assessed by the Local Planning Authority (LPA).

As a minimum, applicants are expected to consult the Wiltshire and Swindon Historic Environment Record (HER) for information on the history of the building, site or area as well as the National Heritage List produced by Historic England. Sources such as historic maps, deeds, photographs and plans are available to help inform heritage statements to enable the understanding of significance. 

Specialist input by an appropriate professional is often required to properly assess the heritage asset and its significance. 

It is important that statements are a balanced, evidence based assessment of the potential impacts of the proposed development. They should not simply express a personal view on whether the works should be approved. 

Other information may be needed to show the potential impact on heritage assets, such as the proposed schedule (specification) of works and structural surveys.

An archaeological desk-based assessment or archaeological survey/evaluation may be required in the form of professional research and investigation. This may include a geophysical survey or necessary archaeological evaluation via trial trenching. This will be informed and advised upon by the Wiltshire County Archaeologist as archaeological advisor to Swindon Borough Council.

Reference to statutory legislation and relevant planning policies, national and local, will also be necessary to justify proposals.

Further information

If you have any queries regarding the above requirements, you can contact the Validation Team either by phone on 01793 466247 or by email at validation@swindon.gov.uk

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