DM Policy 44: Designated and Non-designated Heritage Assets
Designated and Non-designated Heritage Assets
Designated heritage assets in Dover District comprise Scheduled Monuments, Listed Buildings, a Protected Wreck Site, Registered Park and Gardens, and Conservation Areas as designated under the relevant legislation. Non-designated heritage assets include buildings, monuments, sites, places, areas or landscapes which have a degree of heritage significance meriting consideration in planning decisions, but which do not meet the criteria for designation as heritage assets. Specifically, these include sites that have been identified in the Kent Historic Environment Record, the Dover District Heritage Strategy, in a Local or Neighbourhood Plan or in Conservation Area Appraisals and Reviews. In some cases, non-designated heritage assets will be identified as part of the decision-making process on planning applications, for example, following archaeological investigations.
Proposed development affecting a heritage asset is assessed against the impact that such works will have on its significance. Development may have no impact on the significance of the listed building or conservation area, for example, or it may enhance its significance and therefore cause no harm to the heritage asset. Where potential harm to designated heritage assets is identified including from development within its setting, it will be categorised as either less than substantial harm or substantial harm, the latter includes total loss. It is the degree of harm to the asset’s significance, rather than the scale of the development, that will then be assessed when determining the application. In such assessment great weight will be given to the asset’s conservation; the more important the asset, the greater the weight will be. The heritage assets of Dover District are one of its richest resources and therefore any harm to designated heritage assets will require clear and convincing justification, while substantial harm to heritage assets in the district should be exceptional, and in the case of scheduled monuments, protected wreck sites, grade I and II* listed buildings and registered parks and gardens wholly exceptional.
Energy efficiency improvements to heritage assets
Energy efficiency improvements to heritage assets can impact upon their heritage significance in a variety of ways. In such cases, the question of what is and what is not an acceptable change will depend on the measures proposed and their impact on a building’s significance. There are many measures that can be applied to traditionally built buildings to improve energy performance while protecting their heritage significance. However, because of the variability in traditional designs and construction methods, it is important that a one size fits all approach is not pursued and instead that energy improvement proposals demonstrate a ‘whole building’ approach, one that is based on an understanding of the construction and history of the building for example, in order to find a solution that sustains heritage significance, saves energy, and maintains a healthy indoor environment. Houses of traditional construction, for example, do not perform in the same way as their modern counterparts. Most modern buildings depend on impermeable barriers to control the movement of moisture and air through the building fabric. In contrast, traditional forms of building construction take up moisture from their surroundings and release it according to ambient conditions. They also tend to heat up and cool down more slowly.
For proposals which include the installation of energy efficiency measures and where planning permission and/or listed building consent are required, the nature and the scope of proposed measures will therefore be assessed both against their suitability for the particular property and against the risk of harming the significance of the heritage asset.
All applications affecting heritage assets are required to submit a Heritage Statement which should include an assessment of the significance of that asset. Significance in this context is defined as the value of the asset to this and future generations because of its heritage interest. Such interest may be archaeological, architectural, artistic or historic. In doing so it is important to note that significance derives not only from a heritage asset’s physical presence, but also from its setting; the surroundings in which a heritage asset is experienced. The level of detail should be proportionate to the asset’s importance and no more than is sufficient to understand the potential impact of the proposal on their significance.
Heritage Statements for applications in this district should make reference to the extensive evidence resource that Dover District Heritage Strategy provides, including categorising the asset against one or more the 13 Themes set out in the Strategy. To assist applicants with this requirement the Council will provide written guidance to accompany this Plan on what a Heritage Statement should comprise and will establish a clear methodology for checking proposals against the Heritage Strategy themes.
DM Policy 44: Designated and Non-designated Heritage Assets
Proposals which conserve or enhance the heritage assets of the District, sustaining and enhancing their significance and making a positive contribution to local character and distinctiveness will be supported. In particular, proposals that bring redundant or under-used buildings and areas, including those on the Heritage at Risk Register, into appropriate and viable use consistent with their conservation, will be encouraged.
Development will not be permitted where it will cause total loss or substantial harm to the significance of a designated heritage asset or its setting, unless it can be demonstrated that substantial public benefits will be delivered that outweigh the harm or loss caused, or
- where the nature of the heritage asset prevents all reasonable or viable uses of the site, and no viable use of the heritage asset can be found in the medium term through appropriate marketing that will enable its conservation; and
- conservation through grant funding is not possible, and the harm to or loss of the asset is outweighed by the benefits of bringing the site back into use.
Where a development proposal will lead to less than substantial harm to the significance of a designated heritage asset, or where a non-designated heritage asset is likely to be impacted, harm will be weighed against the public benefits of the proposals, including, where appropriate, securing the optimum viable use of the heritage asset.
For development that involves the installation of energy efficiency improvements to heritage assets, applications should also demonstrate a whole building approach, including an assessment of the suitability of the proposed measures for the particular property, its construction and materials, in addition to the impact on its heritage significance.
All applications with potential to affect a heritage asset or its setting must be supported by a Heritage Statement, which should draw on the evidence contained in the Dover District Heritage Strategy, including referencing the heritage themes of the Strategy that apply. Such a Statement should include an assessment of the asset’s historic, architectural or archaeological significance and the likely impact of the proposals on its significance, proportionate to the importance of the asset.