Proposed Submission Local Plan 2006-2028

Historic Environment

12.36 The National Planning Policy Framework[1] sets out the Government's objective for the planning system to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development by conserving the historic environment and its assets in a manner appropriate to their significance so that they can be enjoyed for their contribution to the quality of life of this and future generations.

12.37 The historic environment is a valuable part of South Somerset's cultural heritage and contributes significantly to the local economy and identity of the district, adding to the quality of life and well-being of residents and visitors. Whether in the form of individual buildings, archaeological sites, historic market towns or landscapes, the conservation of this heritage and sustaining it for the benefit of future generations is an important aspect of the role the Council plays on behalf of the community and, as the local planning authority, fulfilling the Government's core planning principles.

12.38 The richness of South Somerset's historic environment is indicated by its high number of designated assets including 4,600 Listed Building list entries, over 80 Conservation Areas, 14 Historic Parks and a high number of scheduled monuments and other archaeological sites.

12.39 The District Council is committed to protecting and where appropriate enhancing this irreplaceable heritage. All designated assets including Listed Buildings, Conservation Areas, Historic Parks and archaeological sites together with other heritage assets that contribute positively to the significance of the historic environment will be protected from demolition or inappropriate development that affects the asset or its setting. The Council will seek to work with owners and developers to ensure historic assets are properly managed and cared for and remain in a viable use.

12.40 The Council will develop a positive strategy for the conservation and enjoyment of the historic environment that will include:

  • Guidance and advice for owners and developers in relation to the historic environment and how its assets should be conserved;
  • An approach to identifying and managing heritage assets at risk through neglect, decay or other threats, and to their conservation and return to sustainable use where appropriate;
  • A programme of Conservation Area Assessments and management plans;
  •  Encouragement for the development of local skills, crafts and the production of local materials relevant to the historic environment;
  • Support for communities to identify locally significant historic buildings and in their preparation of Neighbourhood Plans.

12.41 It is expected that once a Strategy is produced that all new development will be compliant with it.

Policy EQ3: Historic Environment

All new development proposals relating to the historic environment will be expected to:

  • Safeguard or where appropriate enhance the significance, character, setting and local distinctiveness of heritage assets;
  • Make a positive contribution to its character through high standards of design which reflect and complement it and through the use of appropriate materials and techniques;
  • Ensure alterations, including those for energy efficiency and renewable energy, are balanced alongside the need to retain the integrity of the historic environment and to respect the character and performance of buildings, adopting principles of minimum intervention and reversibility.

12.42 It is anticipated that the Council will produce and update the Heritage Strategy, providing comprehensive advice to ensure the highest possible standard of development throughout the District, which will maintain, protect and enhance the character, or the heritage assets of the area. This will be delivered through the Development Management process.

12.43 The following delivery bodies will be key in implementing Policy EQ3:

  • South Somerset District Council;
  • Developers and Landowners.
Monitoring Indicators Target
Avoidance of development that will impact heritage areas There should be no net loss of heritage assets
1. NPPF March 2012 [back]