New heritage appraisals to create value in housing market renewal areas
12 December 2008
Jane Barraclough, 020 7070 6771,
New guidance on creating value in housing market renewal areas has been published by CABE and English Heritage.
Character and identity – townscape and heritage appraisals in housing market renewal areas marks a shift from a narrow focus on housing delivery towards broad-based design-led regeneration with placemaking at its heart.
Appraisals provide a systematic way to identify special historic features which are the backdrop to any planning and design decisions. They are especially important when considering compulsory purchase orders, to ensure that elements of architectural, historic or artistic value are fully taken into account in any decision.
A research project in Pennine Lancashire, drew on the experience of Burnley, Pendle and Blackburn, as well as other HMR areas such as Oldham-Rochdale, to see how existing assets are understood and appreciated in housing renewal schemes. This means having a clear picture of settlement patterns, landmarks and vistas as well as historic development. The existing character of an area will have an important bearing on the distinctive and sometimes new identity that is created through regeneration. The project found that consulting local people was one of the quickest and most incisive ways to understand the special character of an area.
Richard Simmons, chief executive of CABE, said: “Placemaking creates value, and the link between townscape and heritage is critical to give a place its unique identity. The study of historic townscapes has been a source of inspiration for urban designers for centuries but that link is not always being fully made now. That is why this guidance is needed.”
Townscape and heritage appraisals should inform proposals and help decide which elements to preserve and which to renew. The guidance points out that even when demolition is required, the historic street pattern can be retained. For example, in Selwyn Street, Oldham, houses were rebuilt as much bigger units but similar building stock was used and the division of private and public space was unchanged.
Henry Owen-John, North West Planning and Development Director at English Heritage, said: “English Heritage is delighted to be working closely with CABE and Elevate on the Design and Heritage Pennine Lancashire initiative. This well -presented report on character and identity promotes the value of using townscape heritage appraisals to inform community engagement and high-quality new design. We hope it will be used widely in all housing market renewal areas.”
Although the guidance explores the use of appraisals in Pennine Lancashire, their use is relevant wherever the historic environment is affected by regeneration.
The guidance was launched at CABE’s Design Task Group in Liverpool (on 11 December) which brought built environment experts together to learn about working with the private sector to deliver good design. The report includes practical recommendations for built environment professionals, local authorities and others working in urban regeneration.
Notes to editors
- Character and identity – townscape and heritage appraisals in housing market renewal areas was published jointly by CABE and English Heritage in collaboration with Elevate East Lancashire.
- For further information, please contact Jane Barraclough, Senior press officer, CABE on 020 7070 6771 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
- CABE is the government’s advisor on architecture, urban design and public space. As a public body, we encourage policymakers to create places that work for people. We help local planners apply national design policy and offer expert advice to developers and architects. We show public sector clients how to commission buildings that meet the needs of their users. And we seek to inspire the public to demand more from their buildings and spaces. Advising, influencing and inspiring, we work to create well-designed, welcoming places. www.cabe.org.uk
English Heritage is the government's statutory adviser on the historic environment - www.english-heritage.org.uk