General Users

Bew Castle, Cumbria, and its owner Mrs Noble
Revitalisation of Gravesend. The historic environment plays a positive role for wider regeneration


The historic environment is all around us but, once lost, it is irreplaceable. There is no part of England - town or countryside - that humans have not helped to shape and transform over thousands of years. Your decisions directly affect its future, whether as part of the planning process, managing assets or undertaking statutory duties.

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.

Urban & Rural Regeneration

Our surroundings matter. The historic environment contributes to successful regeneration because people enjoy living in an interesting and attractive 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'. It is important to increase opportunities for all to access, understand and enjoy the historic environment.

Yvette Cooper, Parliamentary Under-Secretary, has stated that government does not want to choose between heritage and redevelopment, but wants both.

The historic environment is an asset not a liability. It attracts companies to locate, businesses to invest and tourists to visit. Variety and diversity are among England's most positive attributes. Local distinctiveness and the context of development are key considerations in regeneration.

Sustainable development

Conservation and development can be successfully integrated, as advocated in Planning Policy Guidance 15 and 16. Re-use of historic buildings minimises the exploitation of resources and provides jobs.

Development does not occur in isolation. High quality and imaginative new design in historic contexts offers aesthetic, economic, social and environmental benefits. We have an obligation to provide as well as preserve significant places for future generations to enjoy.

Informed decisions

Change is inevitable, whether it be from new development, differing agricultural regimes or coastal erosion. Managing change effectively means understanding the significance of historic landscapes, buildings and buried archaeology. It is important to find out what people value in their environment and why. Loss through ignorance or neglect is avoidable.

Local authorities are key players in the protection and management of the historic environment. Appropriate research and consultation enables better quality decisions and reduces delays to applications.


Specialist input at an early stage is vital to prevent conflict and potential delays to a project. Local authorities are the first stop for advice and information relating to planning applications in their area. They have access to a variety of historic environment advisors including archaeologists and conservation architects.

English Heritage advises local and national government, providing expert guidance on a wide range of policy and selected applications relating to designated assets. Enquiries should be directed through the regional teams. English Heritage also provides information through the National Monuments Record and research projects. Local and national amenity groups are a further source of specialist advice.

Local authorities and other government agencies need the skills and tools to manage change effectively and creatively. HELM guidance modules may be selected to form part of a training package suitable for a variety of audiences.


English Heritage distributes a variety of grants for historic buildings, monuments and designed landscapes. These funds are targeted at cases of real need and they have ensured the survival of many of the most significant historic buildings and monuments in England. In total in 2002-3, we invested £39.1 million in grants for archaeology and the conservation of buildings and monuments. A grant of just £10,000 has been the catalyst for £46,000 private funding and measurable social and economic benefits.

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.

83 High Street