Draft local list of buildings of special architectural or historic interest
Bury Council is consulting on draft proposals for a local list of historic buildings in the borough. This is being done by writing to individual building owners, press releases, on its website / news desk and via twitter and facebook. The consultation will be undertaken over summer 2019.
Government and Historic England's advice, and good practice, advises that consultation is undertaken on the proposed local list. In addition to receiving views on the list it is possible that the consultation will throw up additional information on the proposed buildings and also other suggestions for inclusion. Planning Committee has approved the draft list prior to consultation and on receipt of the responses, and following the collation of the results, the local list will be reported back to Committee for either formal approval or adjustment.
The borough's heritage is protected by nationally designated Scheduled Ancient Monuments (3 in the borough) statutorily listed buildings (approximately 350 listings) and locally designated conservation areas (12 in the borough). Since the introduction of the government's original National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in 2012 these are referred to as designated heritage assets. The NPPF also introduced a new level of protection, non-designated heritage assets. These can be any type of historic structure, fabric or artefact located above or below ground. These structures would generally not meet the criteria for protection as designated heritage assets but are seen to contribute to the background character and distinctiveness of an area where it is important to protect the best of these assets.
Guidance for Local Planning Authorities in dealing with planning applications, paragraph 197 of the NPPF states 'The effect of an application on the significance of a non-designated heritage asset should be taken into account in determining the application. In weighing applications that affect directly or indirectly non-designated heritage assets, a balanced judgement will be required having regard to the scale of any harm or loss and the significance of the heritage asset.' This represents a strengthening of control over a borough's heritage when planning permission is required.
Supporting guidance advises that non-designated heritage assets can be identified either at the time of a planning application or in advance by the local planning authority through survey and consultation, and then by producing a local list of such heritage assets. Historic England has been supporting the production of such lists for some time. Work was begun on such a list for Bury some time ago but this was disrupted in 2010 by a lack of resources. Since the introduction of the NPPF local lists have increased in importance and now have more significance. Consequently, work on Bury's local list resumed in 2016 and a draft list has now been produced. This currently has approximately 500 entries. The list will also always be work in progress as additional information comes to light and structures are both added and deleted as records increase in accuracy. It is the first step to identifying such assets so that the significance of each asset can be fully researched when proposals for removal or alteration come forward. The list has been produced using selection criteria based on guidance from Heritage England. It is also based on suggestions put forward by civic and historical societies when the original work began.
The approach to the production of the list has been to ensure that each part of the borough and its character is represented. It is also important to cover all relevant periods of the borough's development and to ensure that all building and structure types are covered. Not surprisingly, buildings within the 12 conservation areas are well represented. The centres at Prestwich, Tottington, and Radcliffe are also represented, and buildings of interest within the setting of listed buildings are commonly included. There are some gaps in information. Most buildings have an individual summary sheet but some remote or inaccessible buildings, such as farms, may not. However, early maps and place names have helped in showing that sites have been occupied for some time, and this is the starting point for further assessment.