A Heritage Statement is a report often required as part of a listed building consent application or planning application that involves heritage assets, including other historic buildings or Conservation Areas.
A Heritage Statement provides an understanding of the change that has occurred on a site over time to establish the history and development of a building or site, to better understand its historic significance.
This process of establishing the significance of a site is key to providing the local authority with information on which to base their decision-making process, but also to provide early and clear advice to inform design proposals that may result in a change to the asset or its setting.
What does a Heritage Statement cover?
The evolution of a building is encompassed in four defined elements, set out in Historic England Advice Note 12 (2019) titled ‘Statements of Heritage Significance: Analysing Significance in Heritage Assets’. These four factors comprise Archaeological Interest, Architectural & Artistic Interest, Historic Interest and Setting. It is important to realise that there is no weighting where one of these factors takes precedence over another and, while design works can often be led by the aesthetic side of the final product, it is imperative that all four elements are covered from a heritage perspective. After all, a building with little appreciative design interest could well be associated with a historical event or person.
Equally, although our clients may feel that work needs to be focused only on the area of change or potential impact, Heritage Statements must take a more holistic approach to understand the building or site as a whole. On occasion the eye of the developer or architect can be drawn to the obvious historical features of a site, such as façades, fireplaces and doorways; however, to develop the true picture of change it may be necessary for your Heritage Consultant to take a wide view of the structure over time. Pictured above: Historic railings.
Later extensions, the inclusion of partition walls, new windows or additions of fabric can all impact the overall significance of a property, changing use, flow patterns or appearance. Due to the critical nature of these documents as part of a planning application, it is essential that these documents are undertaken at the beginning of a project. It can be all too easy for them to be missed and flagged late in the project following completion of design works. At this stage, they are not able to establish opportunities or make suggestions to best minimise the impact on the significance of a structure but instead become a product that needs to try and justify the design proposals already set in place.
It is important to remember that Heritage Statements can be broken down into stages, to provide a more phased approach, assessing early proposals via a Statement of Significance and following up with a final Heritage Impact Assessment on completion of the final design. Whichever way they are undertaken, starting your Heritage Statement work early is key to avoiding difficulties during planning.
AB Heritage will provide expert Heritage Statements as part of your development works. We understand the complexities of working with Listed Buildings, Conservation Areas and all forms of Heritage Asset – providing the conservation principles led advice you require to help deliver your works.
“I have been provided a Heritage Statement from AB Heritage for my pub, which was listed Grade 2, and it did really help me to go further with the works I have wanted to carry on the premises. I will definitely recommend AB Heritage”
Mustafa Kama, Owner of Listed Public House