Where proposals affect designated or undesignated heritage assets and their settings, local authorities will require applications for planning permission and listed building consent to be accompanied by a statement of significance, (sometimes referred to as a heritage statement).
By working closely with the client, as well as their architect or agent, JME Conservation is able to prepare proportionate statements of significance that are tailored to the precise nature of the proposals rather than the generic historical assessments commonly submitted in support of applications.
English Heritage guidance (PPS5 Practice Guide) explains why it is necessary to provide supporting statements of significance:
54. Heritage assets may be affected by direct physical change or by change in their setting. Being able to properly assess the nature, extent and importance of the significance of a heritage asset and the contribution of its setting is very important to an applicant in order to conceive of and design a successful development and to the local planning authority in order to make decisions in line with the objectives of the PPS and the development plan.
55. Understanding the nature of the significance is important as it is vital to understanding the best means of conservation. A modern building of high architectural interest will have quite different sensitivities from an archaeological site where the interest arises from the possibility of human remains being buried there.
56. Understanding the extent of the fabric that holds that interest is also important because this can, among other things, lead to a better understanding of how adaptable the asset may be and therefore improve viability and the prospects for long term conservation.
57. Understanding the level of importance of that interest is important as it provides the essential guide to how protectively the policies should be applied. This is fundamental to decision-making where there is unavoidable conflict with other planning objectives.
64. Understanding the significance of affected heritage assets is vital to a successful scheme – one that proposes the optimum viable use to a design that takes advantage of the asset’s significance while also conserving it. Early engagement can lead to an agreed understanding of the nature, extent and importance of the significance of the asset or assets affected by a proposal, and identify the likely impacts on their significance before the details of the scheme are firmed up. It can also help parties to understand how the heritage asset or assets might make a positive contribution to the proposed development and how their incorporation within the design may fulfil wider planning objectives.
65. Pre-application discussions can be critical for large-scale development schemes but even applicants with small-scale domestic proposals can benefit from early engagement with the local planning authority, for example by agreeing in advance what evidence will be required to support their application.