The impact of large-scale housing development on England’s historic environment.

Historic England (then English Heritage) was concerned that larger-scale housing development had negatively affected the historic environment over the last decade. Our planning and heritage specialists were tasked with investigating.

Using case files, consultation responses and decisions, we aimed to better understand:

  • whether existing guidance, tools and techniques were helping developers and planning authorities to avoid and mitigate impacts on heritage assets;
  • the importance of professional advice in securing favourable outcomes;
  • whether the impact of schemes ‘as built’ aligned with those assessed at application/EIA stage;
  • the effectiveness of HE’s engagement with the planning process; and
  • what lessons could be learned from examples of good – and less good – practice.

Our research helped identify when developers and their agents struggle to prepare quality assessments and design solutions, and how planning authorities manage challenging heritage cases. We revealed the need for better quality heritage inputs to SA/SEA of land allocations and enforcement of appropriate ‘conservation gain’. Our team had invaluable architectural input from historic buildings consultant Nick Haynes.

Historic England’s local heritage teams now use our work to provide evidence and advice for casework and engagement in planning decisions and appeals.

For more information on our findings and how they relate to housing allocation in your area, please contact Jeremy Owen.