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Guildford Borough Council

Submission Local Plan: Strategy and Sites - Main Modifications

Submission Local Plan: Strategy and Sites - Main Modifications - Part 1: Policies

Policy D3: Historic environment


4.5.40 Guildford borough's historic environment is intrinsically part of what makes Guildford the place it is. The historic environment includes many important heritage assets, both designated and undesignated, that contribute to the borough's character, sense of place and quality of life. These include significant buildings, monuments, sites, places, areas and landscapes with a degree of heritage interest. The historic environment contributes towards the high quality of environment in the borough and it needs protection from inappropriate development. We have taken into account the need to sustain our heritage assets and put them to viable use wherever possible. The wider social, cultural, economic and environmental benefits that conservation can bring to our community are recognised.

POLICY D3: Historic environment

(1) The historic environment will be conserved and enhanced in a manner appropriate to its significance. Development of the highest design quality that will sustain and, where appropriate, enhance the special interest, character and significance of the borough's heritage assets and their settings and make a positive contribution to local character and distinctiveness will be supported.

(2) Heritage assets are an irreplaceable resource and works, which would cause harm to the significance of a heritage asset, whether designated or non-designated, or its setting, will not be permitted without a clear justification to show that the public benefits of the proposal considerably outweigh any harm to the significance or special interest of the heritage asset in question. The impact of development proposals on the significance of heritage assets and their settings will be considered in accordance with case law, legislation and the NPPF.


Reasoned justification

4.5.41 The historic environment includes all aspects of the environment resulting from an interaction between people and places through time and includes all surviving physical remains of past activity, whether visible, buried or submerged, and landscaped and planted or managed flora. The role of the historic environment in achieving sustainable development is set out in national policy; conservation and sustainable economic growth are complementary objectives and should not generally be in conflict. Conservation can play a key part in promoting economic prosperity by ensuring that an area offers an attractive living and working environment that will encourage inward investment. An imaginative approach will help ensure that heritage assets are kept in use and do not fall into disrepair.

4.5.42 Heritage assets are buildings, monuments, sites, places, areas or landscapes having a degree of significance because of their heritage interest within the historic environment. In most cases the setting of a heritage asset will contribute to its significance. Designated heritage assets are formally designated through national legislation as either scheduled ancient monuments, protected wreck sites, battlefields, listed buildings, registered parks and gardens, World Heritage Sites or conservation areas. There are over 1000 listed buildings in Guildford, 39 conservation areas, 10 registered parks and gardens and 35 scheduled ancient monuments. Non-designated heritage assets are identified by the local authority; the borough's Local List includes over 200 buildings and structures and the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens includes 52 sites. Historic landscapes are also undesignated heritage assets and their local distinctiveness can be considered through the Guildford and Surrey Landscape Character Assessments.

4.5.42a County sites of archaeological importance are non-designated heritage assets. There may be potential for further discovery of non-designated heritage assets with archaeological interest and the Historic Environment Record is a useful indicator for archaeological potential in the area. The County Archaeologist will be consulted on all planning applications on sites of archaeological importance.

4.5.43 New development must conserve heritage assets in a manner appropriate to their significance. The NPPF defines significance as "the value of a heritage asset to this and future generations because of its heritage interest. That interest may be archaeological, architectural, artistic or historic." The contribution of the setting of heritage assets to the appreciation of these qualities will be carefully considered alongside more direct impacts of development proposals.

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4.5.45 The NPPF requires us to provide a positive strategy for the conservation and enjoyment of the historic environment and this policy provides that framework. We will further develop our strategy towards the conservation of the historic environment in the Local Plan: Development Management Policies document that will set out the detailed policies aiming to protect, conserve and enhance our historic environment and the heritage assets within it. We will also:

(a) support proposals which conserve and enhance the historic environment

(b) carry out a programme of reviewing existing conservation areas and producing conservation area appraisals to identify what it is about the area that contributes to its significance as well as identifying and considering new areas for designation as conservation areas

(c) support proposals for heritage-led regeneration, ensuring that heritage assets are conserved, enhanced and secured for the future

(d) identify heritage assets that make an important contribution to the local character of the area and update our local list on a regular basis

(e) identify buildings that could be included on the national list and preparing reports to support new listings

(f) identify buildings that are falling into disrepair and work with owners to find new uses to ensure their continued beneficial use.

Key Evidence

  • National Heritage List for England:
  • Historic environment record, which includes:
    • scheduled ancient monuments;
    • The Register of Historic Parks and Gardens;
    • conservation area designations;
    • statutory list of listed buildings;
    • the Local List;
    • conservation area character appraisals and management plans; and
    • existing conservation area character appraisals.
  • Landscape Character Assessment (Guildford Borough Council, 2007)
  • Historic Landscape Character Assessment (Surrey County Council, 2015)


Monitoring Indicators



Data source

Percentage of appeals allowed for heritage reasons originally refused as being detrimental to significance of designated or un-designated heritage assetsNumber of planning decisions, including appeals, granting permission that results in acknowledged partial or total loss of heritage assets or acknowledged harm to their settings

Reduction in the percentage of appeals allowed that are considered to be detrimental to the significance of designated or undesignated heritage assets


Planning permissions and appeals