Heritage Statements for Planning Applications (draft)

Heritage Statements for Planning

What’s the difference between a Design & Access Statement and a Heritage Statement?

These are a very useful but often overlooked documents that are submitted as part of the planning process. A Design and Access statement is required for  planning applications in general. Smaller developments may not normally need one, however any development  in a conservation area (which require planning permission) needs a similar document but purely in relation to conservation and heritage assects, ie a Heritage Statement.

A  heritage statement can be separate or incorporated within a design and access statement. It may be in relation to archaeology, listed buildings  or a conservation area. 

If you look at planning applications on the Southampton City Council website you will see examples of both.

They can not only add relevant information to the plans such as materials and dimensions, but can also be used to add further justification for the appropriateness of your application.

What you can include

  • Reference to the Character Appraisal & Management Plan (C.A.M.P.)
  • Description of how the development preserves or enhances the appearance or character of the property/area.
  • Context: e.g. photographs of the surrounding buildings if relevant.
  • Sketches or photoshop mockups of the proposal: structure and/or materials, manufacturers’ brochures, planting or landscaping etc.
  • Details of similar designs*(see below re: precedents)  in the area which are not covered by the management plan.
  • Discuss any impact there may be on the area as a whole, e.g. parking.


  • Try to imagine what objections there may be, either from neighbours or planning department, and make an argument which addresses any such concerns.
  • Look at previous successful applications to understand further how such a statement may have helped approval. Architects’ plans may be a necessary part of the application, but by their very nature are technical and so cannot always fully convey how it will look in real life.
  • It is a good idea to think about the statement as part of the whole vision, and at an early stage rather than as an afterthought that is merely an attempt to justify something.
  • Do you need an architect to compose this? Architects are trained on doing this and if you are using an architect for your development then you can ask them to supply one along with the drawings. We would hope that they are familiar with our Character Appraisal & Management Plan (C.A.M.P.) anyway.
  • For smaller projects that do not have an architect (such as replacement windows) then this is something that you can do yourself. For smaller applications there is no need for a formal  documument such as an architect might submit. A few paragraphsa are fine as long as it conveys what you want or need to say.

You can see all the applications within the Triangle by going to the SCC Planning advanced search and enter Oakmount Triangle under Conservation Area. Most of the results are for tree works, however we are building up a database here.

A note about precedents

The planning authorities are not bound to follow a precedent, but may follow them to a greater or lesser degree, especially  in the interests of consistency. However they should also consider each application on its own merit. You might think that because a certain feature has been included on other local buildings (whether or not subject to a planning application) then this will serve as a precedent. Although it can be useful and is , it is by no means an indicator that planning will be approved in your case. It could even count against it if the planning officer thinks there are already too many of a certain feature.

What you see others have done may have been built before the Triangle achieved conservation status. This is something we see a lot of – especially regarding replacement UPVC windows installed in the 1990s that would now probably not have been granted permission.

Examples of Design &/or Heritage Statements


You may find the following links useful

Note that any references in to listed buildings’ internal designs are not relevant in this case. Likewise the references to archeology are unlikely to be relevant, however anything of potential archeological interest you may discover while preparing foundations etc. should be reported to the authorities. The main concern in the Oakmount Triangle is around what is visible from the public relam and effect on the character of the conservation area.


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