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Heritage assets

Heritage assets are defined as “a building, monument, site, or landscape of historic, archaeological, architectural or artistic interest, whether designated or not. Heritage assets are components of the historic environment.” They are divided into designated and undesignated assets.

Heritage assets are defined in the National Planning Policy Framework. They are divided into designated and undesignated assets.

Designated heritage assets

Undesignated heritage assets

In addition to the national and statutory designations, local authorities may formally identify heritage assets that are important to the area, for example through local listing as part of the plan-making process. The process of deciding planning permissions, listed building or conservation area consents may also lead to the recognition that a heritage asset has a significance that merits some degree of protection. Though lacking the statutory protection of other designations, formal identification by the local authority through these processes is material in planning decisions. Local authorities will hold evidence of a wide range of non-designated heritage assets in their areas through the information held on their historic environment records.

The difference between a heritage asset and other components of the environment is that a heritage asset holds meaning for society over and above its functional utility. It is this heritage significance that justifies a degree of protection in planning decisions. The aim of the policies within planning policy is to conserve these assets, for the benefit of this and future generations. This is done by supporting their maintenance and by requiring that change to them is managed in ways that sustain and where appropriate enhances their heritage significance.

Existing law also sets out the basis on which scheduled monument consent, listed building consent, conservation area consent or licences to deal with protected wrecks may be required. Again, nothing in the PPS5 changes those requirements and the interpretation of the words and phrases used.

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