Chaper 5 – Topic Policies
Section D – The Natural and Built Environment
The Ashford Heritage Strategy
The Draft Ashford Heritage Strategy, prepared by the Council, sets out a positive strategy for the conservation and enjoyment of the Borough’s rich historic environment, assessing the significance of its broad portfolio of heritage assets, the contribution they make to the environment of the Borough and their potential to contribute to the delivery of other sustainable development objectives of the Local Plan.
Ashford Borough is home to a significant number of listed buildings, statutorily recognised as being of particular special architectural or historic interest. They are a valuable and irreplaceable resource for the Borough and the NPPF advises they should be conserved in a manner appropriate to their significance (paragraph 126). As well as being of heritage value in themselves, Listed Buildings often make an important contribution to the character of a wider area and help to deliver positive benefits to the cultural, economic and environmental offer of the Borough. To this end, the Council will support proposals which put such buildings to viable use consistent with their conservation.
Many buildings or structures in the Borough which do not currently meet national criteria for statutory listing nevertheless often have local historical importance and may be worthy of protection and conservation in their own right. Local lists play an important role in celebrating non-designated heritage that is particularly valued by communities.The process of preparing a local heritage list allows local people, in partnership with the Council, to identify local heritage that they would wish to see recognised and protected. Such local lists once agreed by the local planning authority as having heritage significance, will merit consideration in planning matters, with the planning authority taking a balanced judgement having regard to the scale of any harm or loss and the significance of the heritage asset itself. Ashford does not currently have a Local List and the council will therefore prepare SPD setting out guidance and recommended methodology on Historic England’s Guiding Principles for Local Heritage Listing in order to support local groups wishing to prepare Local Heritage Lists.
Policy ENV13 – Conservation and Enhancement of Heritage Assets
Proposals which protect, conserve and enhance the heritage assets of the Borough, sustaining and enhancing their significance and the contribution they make to local character and distinctiveness, will be supported. Proposals that make sensitive use of heritage assets through regeneration, particularly where these bring redundant or under-used buildings and areas into appropriate and viable use consistent with their conservation, will be encouraged.
Development will not be permitted where it will cause loss or substantial harm to the significance of heritage assets or their settings unless it can be demonstrated that substantial public benefits will be delivered that outweigh the harm or loss.
All applications which will affect a heritage asset or its setting should be supported by a description of the asset’s historic, architectural or archaeological significance with an appropriate level of detail relating to the asset and the likely impact of the proposals on its significance.