Heritage Statements for Applications

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 larger development planning applications. 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 assets, ie a Heritage Statement.

A heritage statement can be separate or incorporated within a design and access statement if one is required.

What you can include

  • Relevant information which supplement to the drawings, such as materials and dimensions
  • Reference to the Character Appraisal & Management Plan (C.A.M.P.) and/or any of the information we provide online.
  • Description of how the development preserves or enhances the appearance or character of the property and especially in the context of the street scene.
  • Alternatively point out any ways in which it does not harm the character of the property or area. (This is not as good as enhancing of course)
  • How the development benefits the environment and sustainability. This can be in regard to green energy generation or energy efficiency.
  • Sketches, or illustrations or photographic mockups, manufacturers’ brochures
  • Wider context: e.g. photographs and/or elevations of the surrounding buildings if relevant.
  • Details of similar designs*(see precedents) in the area.
  • 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 the 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.
  • Don’t be scared of justifying your development on lifestyle considerations. The planning department will be consulting the sustainability department and could take their opinion into account along with the conservation department. 
  • Don’t be scared of justifying your development on lifestyle considerations. There are plenty of sources which show that conservation is changing and is often about managing change sympathetically rather than pedantic preservation of architecture. More and more people need to work from home, or shelter aged relations and extended families. These are valid reasons to want an extension or conversion and can be considered along with enhancements to the character of the area.
  • Do you need an architect to compose it? Architects are trained in doing this and if you are using one for your development then you can ask them to supply it 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 paragraphs are fine as long as it conveys what you want or need to say. We may be able to give you advice if we are given enough notice.

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.

Examples of Design &/or Heritage Statements

Case Study

OTRA was were recently asked to advise on a garage conversion.  We were happy to have a site meeting with the resident and the architect, and to put forward some suggestions. As this involved converting a 1980s garage which was deemed to be out of character, the obvious way to make this application successful would be to introduce some features that fit well with the surrounding architecture the property. The proposed use of traditional materials and introduction of a sloping tiled (mansard) roof in place of the 80s flat roof seemed to be an obvious solution as one of the aims of conservation is to preserve or enhance. In this case it was definitely an enhancement.

Unfortunately there was  a technical malfunction at the planning site public access, and the Heritage Statement was not uploaded at first. Due to this there was a significant objection raised as a comment on the site. We were able to contact the party and point this out, with the result that once the saw the heritage statement, the objection was immediately withdrawn and the application was successful. This shows just how important the heritage statement can be.

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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