Historic Landscapes and Planning

National Guidance from English Heritage emphasises that understanding the value of the historic environment and making the most of its potential is an important element in place-shaping. This understanding can be enhanced through using historic characterisation tools which help us understand how places have evolved and are currently perceived.

These tools help us to manage change through:

  • the spatial planning network
  • enhancing existing landscape characterisations
  • informing land management practices especially agri-environment agreements
  • education and outreach

The AONB has created two historic characisations

  • The Historic Landscape Characterisation which provides a detailed evidence base which captures maps and analyses the present day historic landscape character of the AONB and identifies time depth in the landscape.
  • The Historic Environment Action Plans which form a more accessible synthesis of the key characteristics of the historic aspects of the AONB landscape. The HEAPs also identify the most significance historic features within the AONB landscape, look at their condition and the forces of changes enacting upon them.

It has produced a guide to the relevance of these historic characterisations to planning. This document uses a series of case studies to demonstrate how these tools can add value to spatial policy and application decisions within the constituent Local Planning Authorities in particular to inform:

  • the strategic evidence base for Local Development Frameworks and other strategies
  • forward planning documents including regeneration strategies and masterplans
  • development management decisions.

This document also looks at how these tools can help planners to:

  • have regard to the purpose of conserving and enhancing natural beauty within the landscape of the AONB inform understanding of local distinctiveness
  • understand the character of place and its capacity for change which are central themes in Planning Policy Guidance.
  • understand the historic landscape context in which a development sites and help shape this context for developers