Pre-Submission City Plan

Policy D1: Historic environment

Development proposals must conserve the character, appearance and significance of designated and non-designated heritage assets and their settings. Proposals should demonstrate:

  1. The protection and enhancement of existing heritage assets and their settings in proportion with the significance of the asset; and
  2. The conservation of features that contribute to the significance of a heritage asset, including structures forming part of the curtilage; and
  3. The proposed use of the heritage asset is compatible with the preservation or enhancement of its significance; and
  4. The proposal conserves and enhances the character, appearance and architectural quality of the area and wider setting in terms if siting, scale, form, proportion, design and materials; and
  5. The use of high quality and locally distinctive materials following traditional building methods and detailing, where appropriate; and
  6. Retains important views into or out of the Conservation Area.

Development involving substantial harm to, or the loss of designated heritage assets will only be granted in very exceptional circumstances. The condition of an historic building resulting from deliberate damage and neglect will not be considered in any decision.

The historic core of the city contains extensive archaeological remains of the highest significance. Sites of similar importance are found in more localised areas throughout the wider city. Great weight will be given to the preservation of any such remains, whether designated or undesignated.

3.4.8 This policy sets out a clear and positive strategy for the conservation, enjoyment and enhancement of Gloucester's historic environment and should be considered in conjunction with guidance provided in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), the adopted JCS Policy SD8 Historic Environment and Gloucester Heritage Strategy 2019-2029 (2019). Development will be required to respect and respond positively to heritage assets and their settings, avoiding loss or harm to their significance. The NPPF defines significance as 'The value of a heritage asset to this and future generations because of its heritage interest. The interest may be archaeological, architectural, artistic or historic. Significance derives not only from a heritage asset's physical presence, but also from its setting.' It further defines designated heritage assets as 'A World Heritage Site, Scheduled Monument, Listed Building, Protected Wreck Site, Registered Park and Garden, Registered Battlefield or Conservation Area designated under the relevant legislation' (Annex 2: Glossary).

3.4.9 The historic environment consists of archaeological remains, historic buildings, townscapes and landscapes these add value to heritage-led regeneration, improving health and well-being and attract economic investment and tourism. They are also a source of significant local pride, contributing to local identity, acting as a valuable cultural and educational resource by improving our understanding and appreciation of Gloucester's past. Heritage is a key component in the effective delivery of sustainable growth. It contributes to the creation of a competitive city centre, supports the diverse needs of local communities, and a high quality and sustainable environment. The City Council's adopted Heritage Strategy (2019 - 2029) highlights a range of evidence / information on the city's designated assets, and identifies opportunities for heritage to support wider regeneration, economic development, tourism and cultural aspirations. It will further be used to inform conservation and enhancement measures, public engagement and interpretation. The strategy and background document are available to download from the City Council's website.

3.4.10 In addition to this, the historic environment is a finite and non-renewable resource and its protection is therefore an essential element in ensuring a sustainable future. The reuse of historic buildings can contribute to sustainability through retaining rather than wasting embodied energy and avoiding use of energy and materials for new build. Where demolition is required that includes, or is adjacent to, a built heritage asset, the City Council will require the consolidation of that asset prior to demolition proceeding.

3.4.11 Equally the preservation of archaeological remains, especially those of the highest significance, is an objective of the NPPF. Preserving archaeological remains in-situ, rather excavating them is also more economically viable and represents a more sustainable approach for the city (Preserving Archaeological Remains Decision-taking for Sites under Development, Historic England 2016).

Describing the significance of heritage assets

3.4.12 Where planning applications are submitted for sites with archaeological interest:

  • Applicants should seek early discussion with the City Council Archaeologist prior to the submission of an application in order to establish the likely level and scope of supporting information required.
  • In the first instance applications on sites of archaeological interest may be required to provide an archaeological desk-based assessment. This assessment should be:
    • Informed by a search of the Gloucestershire Historic Environment Record;
    • Produced in accordance with a brief from the City Archaeologist; and
    • Where possible, assess the impact of the proposed development on archaeological remains.
  • Following receipt of the desk-based assessment the City Council Archaeologist may judge that archaeological evaluation is required in order to understand the potential impact of the development proposals on the significance of any archaeological remains. Any evaluation will be:
    • Outlined in a brief produced by the City Council Archaeologist;
    • Undertaken in accordance with a Written Scheme of Investigation (approved by the City Council Archaeologist); and
    • Outlined in a report to be submitted in support of the planning application.

Where applications are likely to affect a built heritage asset, conservation area or its setting:

  • Applications should be supported by a description of the asset's historic, architectural and archaeological significance with an appropriate level of detail relating to the likely impact of the proposal on that interest. A site analysis identifying the qualities which contribute to local character, including development patterns, history, its landscape and views, and how these can contribute to the quality and sustainability of the proposed development should also be provided. As assessment of the character of the local area with reference to the adopted conservation area appraisal and management recommendations should also be included where necessary. This may include:
    • Built heritage assessment;
    • Assessment of significance;
    • Character appraisal and photomontages; and
    • Setting assessment; and an impact assessment.

3.4.13 Applicants should seek early discussions with officers prior to the submission of an application to establish the scope and nature of the supporting information required.