You are responsible for shaping the future of our towns, countryside, cities and villages. Changes to the historic environment can have an irreversible impact on the economic and social viability of your local area. The historic environment contributes to successful regeneration because people enjoy living in an interesting and attractive environment.
Legal protection is provided for buildings of special interest by listing, while nationally significant archaeology is scheduled. Conservation Areas are locally designated, and some authorities maintain Local Lists. Planning policy guidance is also widely applicable at a local level to buried remains, buildings and landscapes that have no statutory designation.
The historic environment is a key consideration in the planning process. Ensure you have sufficient information to make appropriate decisions. Your local authority should have a properly resourced conservation department to assist you. The HELM project provides information on basic historic environment principles relevant to your decisions.
Historic environment issues may apply to any area of council responsibility such as highways, education, estate management and disabled access. Cross-departmental collaboration and support from the community is vital to reduce the risk of inappropriate redevelopment.
Your council not only regulates development, it also owns historic assets and grant-aids the restoration of historic buildings and areas. Further funding for the historic environment is also available from a number of local, national and European sources including English Heritage. A grant of just £10,000 has been the catalyst for £46,000 in private funding with measurable social and economic benefits.
The public are increasingly aware of the historic environment. A recent MORI survey ( Heritage Counts 2003 ) found that over 80% of residents in Cornwall, Bradford and London agreed that 'the heritage in my local area is worth saving'. The historic environment offers many opportunities for local authorities to enhance the quality of life for everybody across their communities.
HELM and Elected Members
If the issues on this website are already familiar to you, perhaps you'd like to be an advocate for the historic environment by becoming a Heritage Champion?
Guidance and policy documents are available on this website when accessed through the website's five topic buttons: Regeneration & Design, Understanding & Recording, Place & Placemaking, Managing & Protecting and Funding. English Heritage documents can also be searched and downloaded as a PDF by using the Guidance Library.
The HELM website has a list of guidance produced by local authorities, amenity groups and relevant bodies which can also be found using the Guidance Library. Case Studies may be searched for examples of good practice across the country.
HELM offers training for councillors and officers in local authorities and government agencies.