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Historic environment guidance, policy and technical advice

What is a heritage asset?

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) defines heritage asset as “a building, monument, site, place, area or landscape identified as having a degree of significance meriting consideration in planning decisions, because of its heritage interest”.

Heritage assets include designated heritage assets (scheduled monuments, listed buildings, registered parks and gardens, conservation areas and registered battlefields) and non-designated heritage assets identified by the local planning authority (locally listed buildings; locally registered parks and gardens; archaeological sites and buildings identified in the South Gloucestershire Historic Environment Record).

There is a lot of practical advice, policy guidance and general information relating to the historic environment and heritage assets available online. The following sections are intended to provide an introduction to this material.

Council publications

Supplementary Planning Documents (SPDs)

Supplementary Planning Documents (SPD) (formerly guidance) are documents that have undergone extensive public consultation and formal adoption by the council. They can cover a wide range of topics and can be used to provide additional information relating to aspects of the historic environment and planning. Adopted SPDs are a material planning consideration when determining applications.

The majority of heritage related SPDs take the form of conservation area appraisals. Other relevant SPDs include Landscape Character, Shopfronts & Advertisements and Locally Listed Buildings. These documents can be found on the SPD webpage.

Technical Advice Notes (TANs)

Non-statutory ‘Standing Advice’ statements are intended to provide general advice to those applying for planning permission or listed building consent or looking to carry out repairs. They are not formally adopted as supplementary planning documents (SPD) but help by providing clear guidance on particular aspects of planning policy, design, heritage conservation or archaeology. They also ensure applicants and agents are informed of the information that may be needed to support applications affecting heritage assets. Current TANs include:

Village design statement

The council has endorsed the following village design statements prepared by local communities

Extensive urban surveys

In the 1990s, Avon Council commissioned a series of studies of the archaeology and development of a number of small towns. In our area these included five medieval planned towns, a post-medieval urban area and a modern industrial town. Four of the medieval towns have Saxon or possibly earlier origins but one, Chipping Sodbury, was built on a new site.

These documents are desk based studies of the surviving archaeological resources. They include assessments of below ground archaeological remains, standing buildings and the historic plan form of the town. They consider the development of the town and, where possible, depict the sites mentioned on a modern map. The following reports are available:

External Advice

Historic England

Historic England is the Governments advisor on all matters relating to the historic environment. They are also responsible for maintaining the National Heritage List for England. Historic England publishes a wealth of guidance covering all aspects of the historic environment, including guidance on what it means to live in a Conservation Area and owning or altering a historic building.

Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB)

The SPAB offers practical and positive advice, promoting the value and good sense of caring for the fabric of old buildings. The SPAB takes a long-term view, urging that in our own actions we consider the legacy we will leave to future generations. The SPAB runs courses, operates a free technical advice line and publishes books and leaflets on a wide range of heritage topics.

National Trust – Building Conservation

The National Trust protect historic buildings and buildings in the wider landscape. More information at:

Amenity Societies

Further information on Amenity Societies can be found on Historic England’s webpage

Chartered Institute for Archaeologists

The Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA) is the governing body for professional archaeologists and covers regulations, guidance and professional conduct. CIfA holds a list of accredited organisations, who are competent to undertake work in South Gloucestershire. For further information go to the website:

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