Measuring Significance

  • The NPPF (2014) makes endless mention of ‘significance’. What does this mean?

  • People when asked often show a striking divergence from correct notions of ‘heritage importance’; for example, the people of Leicester have a huge affection for the Old Clock Tower, despite the amateurishness of its architecture. Recent UK governments have wished to make a bonfire of Planning Law, only to find that it is set in Law. Only Policy can be changed without an act of Parliament (National Planning Policy Framework). Rather than simply preserving some old building, one now talks about preserving the ‘significance of the asset’ rather than the ‘asset’. The general trend is towards ‘Constructive Conservation’; or preserving assets in ‘a manner appropriate to their significance’.

  • What is a ‘non-designated asset’?

  • Even if a property is not ‘listed’, two innovations in the NPPF (2014) are going to be of concern to a developer: ‘Non-designated Assets’ have to be taken into consideration. The Conservation or Planning Officer is also required to be proactive in ensuring that active ‘effort should be made to enhance heritage significance’. Only ‘non-buildings’ are subject to NPPF policy – not Law (1990/2004).