Local Plan Review - Publication Plan

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14. Enhancing the historic environment

Protection and enhancement of the historic environment and heritage assets

14.1 South Staffordshire's historic environment is a rich and varied, finite and vulnerable resource. Heritage assets are defined 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. Reference to heritage assets includes both designated and non-designated assets. The inevitable and continuous process of change and development create pressures on this resource and a policy response is required to ensure its continued conservation.

14.2 National planning policy seeks to promote a positive approach towards the conservation and enjoyment of the historic environment. There is a focus on the conservation of heritage assets in a manner which is appropriate to their significance with a view to ensuring their continuing enjoyment for existing and future generations. In planning for new development, the NPPF identifies the need to consider the potential interaction between new development and the historic environment, and the ability of the new to take influences from and contribute to the existing character of an area.

14.3 A Conservation Area Management Plan has been published for each of the Conservation Areas in the district. These plans provide valuable guidance on matters such as structures and views of importance and should be treated as a material planning consideration when determining planning applications. The council has also produced a local list of locally significant buildings and structures which will also be taken into account when assessing development proposals.

14.4 Where a heritage statement is required, this should be: proportionate; include a description of the significance of the affected asset(s); assess the impact of the proposed development; indicate how the proposal would conserve or enhance the asset(s) and indicate how development proposals have sought to avoid, minimise or mitigate any harm to the asset(s) significance.

Policy NB8: Protection and enhancement of the historic environment and heritage assets

The historic environment will be conserved and enhanced, and heritage assets will be protected in a manner appropriate to their significance. Development proposals should demonstrate how they preserve or enhance the character, appearance and function of heritage assets and their settings and respect the significance of the historic environment.

Development proposals which would cause harm to the significance of a heritage asset, or its setting, will not be permitted without a clear justification in accordance with legislation and national policy.

Proposals which could impact on the significance of a heritage asset, including its setting, should be accompanied by a heritage statement which is proportionate to the importance of the asset and its setting.

Where there is the potential for areas of archaeological interest to be affected, an archaeological assessment should be prepared informed by available evidence including desk-based assessments and where appropriate field evaluation to establish the significance of known or potential heritage assets.

The loss of heritage assets will be resisted. Where this is not possible, development consent which would result in the loss of all, or part of, the significance of a heritage asset, a historic building record and/or archaeological excavation will be required. Results should be published and made publicly available.

The council will support measures which secure the improved maintenance, management and sustainable reuse of heritage assets, particularly those which are identified nationally or locally as being at risk.

Development proposals should be consistent with other Local Plan policies.

Key Evidence
  • Conservation Area Appraisals and Management Plans 2010
  • Buildings of Special Local Interest
  • Historic Environment Site Assessment 2022
  • Historic Environment Character Assessment 2011
  • West Midlands Farmsteads and Landscape Project 2010
Implementation

Local/national Funding

Development Management

Partners

Section 106 agreement

Supplementary Planning Document

No

Yes

No

No

No

Canal Network

14.5 The council will continue to work with the Canal and River Trust and other partners to safeguard and enhance the canal network in the district. Sensitive development which respects the heritage value of the network and offer the opportunity for enhancing the tourism, leisure, recreation and cultural value will be supported. Any development should be located within close proximity to existing settlements particularly where this can support rural services and act as a catalyst to assist rural regeneration. The role of the canal network as a key element of the green/blue infrastructure network will be supported. This has the potential to deliver multiple benefits including support for active travel, tourism and leisure opportunities and linkages into a network of wildlife corridors and stepping stones which can support the restoration and preservation of biodiversity.

14.6 The canals within the district are protected as designated heritage assets (canal conservation areas) and a significant number of the associated canal structures such as bridges are nationally listed. National policy identifies such assets as an irreplaceable resource and promotes their conservation in a manner appropriate to their significance.

14.7 The restoration of the Hatherton Branch Canal is being promoted by the Lichfield and Hatherton Canals Restoration Trust. The aim is to restore the route from Hatherton Junction at Calf Heath to connect through the disused Lord Hayes Branch with the Wyrley and Essington Canal on the Birmingham Canal Navigations network. The project is in various phases of restoration, however in the absence of the full canal route being completely restored, the intention is to safeguard the route and implement it in sections as green infrastructure and a public walkway, known as the Heritage Towpath Trail.

Policy NB9: Canal Network

The development of new, or the expansion of existing, canal side facilities such as mooring, service facilities and marinas should be located within or in close proximity to existing settlements. Developers will be required to demonstrate their commitment to integrating proposals within the local community to become part of the 'public realm' of the settlement.

Proposals will be supported where they meet all of the following criteria:

  1. Conserve and enhance the heritage, scenic and wildlife value of canals.
  2. Are sensitively designed and enhance the setting of the waterways particularly in relation to scale, layout, character, massing, form, materials and landscaping.
  3. Enhance the recreation and tourism value of the canal network.
  4. Contribute positively to the function and appearance of canals, and wherever possible provide new life for redundant buildings.

The recreational value of canals for walking cycling and canoeing will be encouraged and promoted for their contribution to the health and wellbeing of residents and visitors. Opportunities will be sought to improve the accessibility of the canal network through the provision of improved surfacing, access points and wayfinding as a recognition of their important role as a key element of the green/blue infrastructure network.

Proposals for the environmental improvement and restoration of canals, including the Hatherton Branch Canal (either fully or as a Heritage Towpath Trail), will be supported having regard to the benefits to the canal system and rural regeneration provided there will be no adverse impact on the natural and historic environment including designated sites and habitats. Prior to any canal being restored to a navigable condition, evidence will need to be provided to the Environment Agency to demonstrate that the abstraction of water to feed the canal is sustainable.

The route of the Hatherton Canal as shown on the Policies Map will be safeguarded from any development which would prejudice the restoration of the canal.

Development proposals should be consistent with other Local Plan policies.

Key Evidence
  • Canal and Rivers Trust Planning Policy Advice Note
  • Hatherton Canal Restoration Feasibility Report 2006
  • Hatherton Canal Restoration Supplementary Feasibility Report 2009
Implementation

Local/national Funding

Development Management

Partners

Section 106 agreement

Supplementary Planning Document

No

Yes

Yes

No

No

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