Listed Building Advice Note
Writing a heritage statement
All listed building consent applications require the submission of a heritage statement. The aim of the statement is to describe the significance of the listed building and demonstrate how this is affected by the proposals.
The level of detail in a heritage statement is dependent on the nature of the works proposed and in the majority of cases a full architectural and historic analysis is unlikely to be required. The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) states that the detail should be 'no more than is sufficient to understand the potential impact of the proposal on [the listed building's] significance.'
If you have an architect or other professional submitting the application on your behalf they should be able to produce the statement themselves, or we can provide contact details of professionals who can assist. However, it is not always necessary to submit a professionally prepared statement and with the following guidance you can write your own.
Describe the significance of the listed building
The 'significance' of a listed building is defined in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) as "the value of a heritage asset to this and future generations because of its heritage interest. That interest may be archaeological, architectural, artistic or historic. Significance derives not only from a heritage asset's physical presence, but also from its setting."
Significance is therefore an all-encompassing word used to capture a wide variety of reasons why the listed building is considered important enough to be included on the National Heritage List for England.
Firstly, look at your building and describe what you see. Including photographs of the listed building and the areas of potential change in the heritage statement can be useful.
Secondly, look at the list description for clues on the age, architectural design or construction of your building. This can be accessed by locating your property on our interactive map and clicking on the 'listed building' layer or by going directly to the National Heritage List for England. Remember that the aim of the list description is simply to help identification of the building and is likely to be only a few sentences in length, but it is a useful starting point.
Thirdly, see whether there is any historic information such as previous architectural analysis or old photographs and maps that might aid understanding the development of your listed building.
Assess the proposed works
Following your description of the significance you will need to outline the proposed works, the reason for applying for the works and indicate how they affect those areas that you have identified as important.
At the simplest level this may be just a few lines; for example, the replacement of a modern window with one to a more traditional detail to match other windows in the listed building could be assessed in the following manner:
"The existing window is a modern, possibly late 20th Century replacement. The proposed new window will match other historic windows on the listed building in detailed design and materials. No historic fabric will be lost and the works will improve the appearance of the listed building by reinstating a more appropriately detailed window."
There are many sources of information on the internet, at your local library or the Kent archives in Maidstone. The following list is not exhaustive but may be of interest:
- Kent County Council Historic Environment Record (HER): a database of archaeological sites, finds and buildings;
- Historic England Archive: an online version of the Architectural Red Boxes;
- Historic maps;
- Tithe maps, dating back from 1830-40, are available to view on CD at the Ashford Gateway. Email the Gateway for more information;
- Here's History Kent: An archive of historical material relating to Kent parishes and towns;
- A pictorial history of Ashford: A personal archive of modern and historic photos of the town taken by Chris Crook.