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The national planning policy framework; Sustainable development and heritage conservation- Mike Harlow, RTPI CPD
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The national planning policy framework; Sustainable development and heritage conservation- Mike Harlow, RTPI CPD


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  • 1. The National Planning Policy Framework;Sustainable Development; and,Heritage ConservationMike Harlow, Governance and Legal Director, English Heritage
  • 2. Sustainable Development - what is it? One of the key dimensions ofsustainability is protecting andenhancing our historic environment.[p7] Economic, social andenvironmental improvement shouldbe sought jointly andsimultaneously [p8] Pursuing SD involves seekingimprovements to the quality of thehistoric environment etc [p9]
  • 3. Sustainable Development - what is it? P17 sets out 12 principles including to: Seek “high quality design” Recognise “intrinsic character and beauty of countryside” “Conserve heritage assets in a manner appropriate to theirsignificance so that they can be enjoyed for their contribution to thequality of life of this and future generations”
  • 4. Sustainable Development - what is it?Account should always be taken of: the desirability of sustaining and enhancing the significance of heritageassets and putting them to a viable use consistent with their conservation, historic environment potential to contribute to sustainable communities,including economic vitality, and; the desirability of new development making a positive contribution to thehistoric environment’s local distinctiveness. [p126 and 131] Policies that relate to decision-taking apply to consideration ofneighbourhood development orders (inc community right to build orders),where relevant. [p202]
  • 5. Weight to be given to conservation ofheritage assets No express presumption in favour ofconservation of designated heritageassets as in PPS5 However, presumption in favour of SDis a presumption in favour ofdevelopment that meets the objectivesand policies of the NPPF as a whole. 1of the 12 principles is that planningshould deliver heritage assetconservation. [p17] More particularly, conservingdesignated heritage assets in p132 isgiven great weight. This phrase is alsoused in connection with conservation ofNPs and AONBs [p115] and elsewhere,e.g. outstanding design [p63], schools[p72] and the benefits of mineralextraction [p144]
  • 6. Weight to be given to conservation ofheritage assets All harm, whether through demolition, alteration or developmentwithin a setting of a designated heritage asset requires ‘clear andconvincing justification’ Loss of GII should be ‘exceptional’. Loss of GI, II* and other highly valued designated heritage assetsshould be ‘wholly exceptional’ [p132] This is the same formulation as PPS5 Non-designated archaeological sites of demonstrable equivalence toscheduled monuments should be treated as designated heritageassets [p139]
  • 7. Justification of substantial harm todesignated heritage assets Total loss of a designatedheritage asset or substantialharm to it (direct physicalharm, or harm throughdevelopment within its setting)can be justified on the groundsthat: The harm is necessary todeliver public benefits thatoutweigh that harm, or Because the asset isdemonstrably non-viableand it is better to free upthe site than keep theasset [p133]
  • 8. Justification of less than substantial harmto designated heritage assets This is the lesser ofthe two tests. The harm should beweighed againstpublic benefits Public benefit maybe putting the assetinto its optimumviable use. This is the sameapproach as PPS5
  • 9. Non-designated heritage assetsThe effect of anapplication on theirsignificance ‘should betaken into account’. A‘balanced judgement willbe required havingregard to scale of anyharm and thesignificance of theheritage asset’ [p135]
  • 10. Conservation Areas and World HeritageSites CAs and WHSs are designated heritage assets ‘Great weight’ should therefore be given to their conservation and anyharm needs ‘clear and convincing justification’ [p132] Loss of a building or other element that makes a positive contribution(such as a designed square) requires clear and convincingjustification and may amount to substantial or less than substantialharm depending on the degree of contribution to the significance ofthe conservation area overall [p132, 133, 134 and138] Positive obligation to look for opportunities to enhance or better revealsignificance [p137 and see also p7, p9, p58, p60 and p61]
  • 11. The setting of heritage assets Harm to a heritage asset throughdevelopment within its setting isassessed against the same policiesas for physical harm to thesignificance of designated heritageassets generally [p132 and definitionof ‘significance’] Harm should be judged against thepublic benefits delivered by theproposal [p133 or p134] Decision-makers should look foropportunities to enhance or betterreveal the significance of the assetthrough development within its setting[p137 and see also p7, p9, p58, p60and p61]
  • 12. Recording heritage assets that will beharmed or destroyed Similar to PPS5 Developers are required torecord and advanceunderstanding of thesignificance of anyheritage to be lost, whollyor in part, as part of anypermitted development. The obligation should beproportionate to theimportance of the assetand the impact Evidence should be madepublicly available [p141] Ability to record should notinfluence decision
  • 13. Plan-making Local plans should be consistent with the NPPF principles [p151] Local plans should include strategic policies to deliver conservation andenhancement of the historic environment , including landscape [p156] Identify where development would be inappropriate, for instance becauseof its environmental or historic significance [p157] Have a clear strategy for enhancing the natural, built and historicenvironment [p157] They should set out a positive strategy for the conservation andenjoyment of the historic environment, recognising their irreplaceablenature [p126]
  • 14. Plan-making Local Plans should take into account: The desirability of putting heritage assets to a viable use consistentwith their conservation The contribution conservation makes to wider sustainability aims The desirability of new development contributing to local character[p126] Plans should be based on adequate, up-to-date and relevant evidenceabout the historic environment [p158] Evidence should also be used to predict the likelihood for discovery ofcurrently unidentified heritage asses – particularly sites of historic andarchaeological interest [p169]. LPA should either maintain or have access to a historic environmentrecord [p169]
  • 15. Design Policies Policies and decisions should aim to ensure thatdevelopments….respond to local character and history and reflect theidentity of local surroundings and materials while not preventing ordiscouraging appropriate innovation. [p58] Policies and decisions should not attempt to impose architecturalstyles or particular tastes… is, however, proper to seek to promoteor reinforce local distinctiveness. [p60] Policies and decisions should address the integration of newdevelopment into the historic environment. [p61] LPAs should have local design review arrangements in place [p62]
  • 16. Design policies Great weight given to outstandingor innovative designs [p63] Permission refused fordevelopment of poor design [p64] Only those adverts which clearlyhave an appreciable impact on abuilding or their surroundingsshould be subject of detailedassessment. Cumulative impactscan be taken into account. [67]
  • 17. FINALLY: The Presumption in Favour of SD ‘The policies in paragraphs 18 to 219 [of the NPPF], taken as awhole, constitute the Government’s view of what sustainabledevelopment in England means in practice for the planning system’ The presumption means that Local Plans should meetobjectively assessed needs, with sufficient flexibility to adapt torapid change, unless: any adverse impacts of doing so would significantly and demonstrablyoutweigh the benefits, when assessed against the policies in thisFramework taken as a whole; or specific policies in this Framework indicate development should berestricted.
  • 18. FINALLY: The Presumption in Favour of SD For decision-taking this means approving developmentproposals that accord with the development plan withoutdelay; and where the development plan is absent, silent or relevantpolicies are out-of-date, granting permission unless: any adverse impacts of doing so would significantly and demonstrablyoutweigh the benefits, when assessed against the policies in thisFramework taken as a whole; or specific policies in this Framework indicate development should berestricted.
  • 19. Guidance The Historic EnvironmentPlanning Practice Guide,produced in March 2010 tosupport PPS5 is still a relevantconsideration. It was produced byEH with endorsement from DCLGand DCMS. It has not been cancelled and isstill of use in helping tounderstand concepts andacceptable approaches. Government review of allguidance is underway….
  • 20. Further Guidance
  • 21. Keep up to date