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Flintshire County Council Unitary Development Plan 2000-2015
Adopted 28th September 2011

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Chapter 9

Historic Environment

Relevant Strategic Aims

f. Built environment

Policy Objectives
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Policy List
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  1. PRESERVATION - to protect the locally valuable and nationally recognised historic environment and historic landscapes and encourage their repair and management
  2. UNDERSTANDING - to obtain accurate information on the extent and nature of historic assets to allow sound conservation
  3. ENHANCEMENT - to encourage new development of an appropriate character throughout the County, in particular in conservation areas and/or the restoration of historic buildings
  4. SUSTAINABLE USE - to promote use and re-use of historic buildings and areas which does not adversely affect their special architectural or historic interest
  5. REGENERATION - to further the Council’s economic objectives by using the repair of historic buildings and features, and the enhancement of historic areas as a basis for the economic regeneration of towns and communities

HE1 Development Affecting Conservation Areas

HE2 Development affecting Listed Buildings and their Settings

HE3 Demolition in Conservation Areas

HE4 Buildings of Local Interest

HE5 Protection of Registered Landscapes, Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest

HE6 Scheduled Ancient Monuments and other Nationally Important Archaeological Sites

HE7 Other Sites of Lesser Archaeological Significance

HE8 Recording of Historic Features

Indicators of Policy Performance

Targets

  1. Increase in number of conservation areas and appraisals
  2. Appeals dismissed on grounds of adversely affecting conservation areas and historic landscapes
  3. Listed buildings new & lost & at risk
  4. Applications for listed building consent permitted
  5. Applications for development inconservation areas permitted
  6. Number of buildings on the buildings at risk register within conservation areas
  7. Records made where development affecting designated sites, conservation areas or historic landscapes takes place

TARGET 4: Minimise loss or damage through development, to designated sites, historic landscapes and buildings of international, national or county heritage importance and ensure adequate recording before any change occurs

 

9 Historic Environment

Introduction

9.1 Flintshire has a rich and varied history which is reflected in its abundance of archaeological remains, historic buildings and landscapes. As well as contributing greatly to our understanding both of the past and the present, these unique assets are of immense importance for leisure and recreation.

9.2 The policies in this chapter seek to confer protection on conservation areas, listed buildings and other buildings or structures of historic or local interest, as well as historic landscapes, parks and gardens, scheduled ancient monuments, and areas of possible archaeological remains. It is also important to recognise the features of local interest, which add richness and local distinctiveness to the historic character of the County. These may not always be formally designated but will be protected by the policies in the Plan.

 

National Planning Policy

9.3 The Welsh Government sets out in para 6.1.1 of Planning Policy Wales the following objectives for the conservation and improvement of the historic environment:

9.4 Planning Policy Wales requires in para 6.4.1 that UDPs set out policies for the preservation and enhancement of the historic environment and the factors to be taken into account in assessing planning applications. UDPs should include policies for the protection and enhancement of sites of archaeological interest and their settings. Policies should also address demolition, alteration, extension and re-use of listed buildings and their curtilages, with a general presumption in favour of the preservation of listed buildings.

9.5 National guidance also states that UDPs should make clear that development proposals will be judged for their effect on the character and appearance of conservation areas, to ensure that development is in accord with the areas’ special architectural and historic interest.

9.6 It is important to note that there is no statutory requirement to have regard to the provisions of a development plan when considering applications for listed building consent or conservation area consent (the Courts have accepted that s54A of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 does not apply). However, Planning Policy Wales advises that “UDPs should include policies for the conservation of the built environment that are relevant to development control decisions and which should be taken into consideration in the determination of applications for both listed building and conservation area consent”.

 

Flintshire Context

9.7 Conservation Areas - Conservation area controls are enshrined in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990. A conservation area is an area of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance. Designations are intended to provide protection from incremental detrimental developments, which can change the character either of a conservation area as a whole or smaller areas within it.

9.8 There are 31 conservation areas in the Plan area, all of which are shown on the Inset Plans. They range from the centres of market towns to small villages, historic parks, and collections of historic buildings, and include: Flint, Mold and Holywell town centres; parts of the villages of: Cadole, Caerwys, Cilcain, Ffynnongroyw, Gorsedd, Gwaenysgor, Gwespyr, Halkyn, Llanasa, Nannerch, Nercwys, Northop, Trelawnyd, Whitford, Ysceifiog, Hawarden and Caergwrle and smaller conservation areas at Gadlys, Glan yr Afon, Kinsale Hall, Leeswood Hall, Lygan y Wern, Oakenholt Hall, Pantasaph, Plas Bellin, Plas Onn, Talacre Abbey, and The Wern.

9.9 The Council will in relation to conservation areas:

9.10 All conservation areas will have character appraisals carried out to identify the essential architectural or historic elements to be protected. Development proposals will be judged on how well they meet the aims of preservation or enhancement of the special character. New conservation areas will be designated in accordance with the criteria set out in Welsh Office Circular 61/96.

9.11 Once the appraisals have been completed, periodic reviews will be carried out and management / enhancement plans will be produced to tackle identified problems.

9.12 The County Council is also committed to improving the appearance of and maintaining the character of conservation areas through the Historic Buildings Repair Grant and the Holywell Townscape Heritage Initiative. These grant systems are not specifically targeted at conservation areas but have proved valuable in such designations.

9.13 Buildings of Architectural or Historic Interest - A list of buildings and structures of architectural or historic interest is compiled by Cadw: Welsh Historic Monuments. These "listed buildings", of which there are over 868 in the Plan area, are considered to be of national importance (The number of listed buildings changes over time as de-listings and new listings occur). They are listed as Grade 1 if of outstanding interest, Grade 2 if of special interest, and Grade 2* if of more than special interest. Under the Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas Act 1990, the Council is required to pay special regard to listed buildings and the desirability of preserving listed buildings, their setting, or any features of special archaeological or historic interest which they possess. This legislation also refers to the preservation of the setting of a listed building and buildings within the curtilage of a listed building (although not all curtilage buildings are protected by listing).

9.14 Historic Landscapes, Parks and Gardens - Whilst the scenic and wildlife importance of the Welsh countryside has long been recognised and appreciated, its historic significance has only recently been given equal recognition through the compilation of The Register of Landscapes, Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in Wales which has been set up by CCW, Cadw, Welsh Historic Monuments and ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites). This document comprises Part 1 Parks and Gardens, Part 2.1 Landscapes of Outstanding Historic Interest and Part 2.2 Landscapes of Special Historic Interest. Within Flintshire, at present, there are 23 registered historic parks and gardens and one historic landscape (Holywell Common and Halkyn Mountain) along with the eastern boundary of the Vale of Clwyd outstanding historic landscape. At present the register is non statutory and no extra planning controls affect the designated areas. The register is supported by policy HE5, which seeks to ensure the preservation, conservation and management of these important assets.

9.15 Sites of Archaeological Interest - Archaeological remains are a finite and fragile resource. They range from the ruins of Flint castle to traces of more modest buildings and artefacts. The County Council recognises the historical importance of these sites, and is keen to maximise their educational, interpretation and potential tourist value.

9.16 There are currently around 100 such Scheduled Ancient Monuments in the Plan area. However, Planning Policy Wales (2011) acknowledges that not all nationally important sites, meriting preservation, are scheduled, and stresses that development plans should include policies to protect both scheduled and unscheduled archaeological monuments and remains. More detailed National Guidance is found in Welsh Office circular 60/96.

9.17 Recording of Historic Features - There is a final policy in this chapter regarding the recording of features of historic interest both before and during the implementation of a development proposal.

 

Policies

HE1 Development Affecting Conservation Areas

Development in or affecting the setting of conservation areas will only be permitted if it preserves or enhances the character or appearance of the designated area.

9.18 Applicants must demonstrate how development proposals within or affecting conservation areas will preserve or enhance the special character or appearance of the area.

9.19 The massing of any new buildings or extensions should be in scale with surrounding buildings and external building materials should be appropriate to the conservation area.

9.20 The Council will also have regard to the broader townscape or landscape setting of a conservation area. In particular, proposals for development which would be visible from a conservation area will be controlled to ensure that views into and out of the area are preserved.

9.21 Special attention will be given to the protection of building layout and plot patterns, roofscapes and skylines, trees, open spaces, designated landscapes and other features, which contribute positively to the special character or appearance of an area.

9.22 It is especially important for conservation areas within commercial centres that there is a controlled and positive management of development. At the same time new development must preserve or enhance the special architectural visual and historic qualities of the conservation area. For example, good shop front design and control of advertisements are essential elements of retaining the special nature of conservation areas.

9.23 The designation of a Conservation Area provides some protection to trees even if they are not subject to a TPO. Any works to trees in conservation areas requires 6 weeks notice; this gives the Council time to consider whether a TPO should be made.

9.24 The extent to which buildings contribute positively or otherwise to the special character or appearance of a conservation area will be assessed during the preparation of conservation area appraisals.

9.25 The Council believes that a number of minor alterations, such as replacement windows and doors, extensions, and satellite dishes are detrimental to the character and appearance of the conservation area. Where there is evidence that there is a threat from Permitted Development (PD) Rights the Council will, where applicable, seek the approval of the Welsh Government to employ Article 4 directions (not all Article 4 directions require confirmation). This will remove Rights making it necessary for owners in the conservation area to apply for planning permission for development normally permitted under parts 1 and 2 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 and enable tighter controls over development in conservation areas.

 

HE2 Development Affecting Listed Buildings and their Settings

Any development affecting listed buildings or their settings, including internal or external alterations or change of use will be permitted only where:

  1. there is no adverse effect on the building's special architectural or historic character and appearance and the setting of a listed building;
  2. it can be demonstrated that the loss of, or damage to its historic fabric is unavoidable, has been minimised and that works which would result in the loss of, or which would conceal parts of a listed building, and which contribute to its interest, will be recorded by a photographic or drawn survey; and
  3. a change of use of a listed building or structure would increase the likelihood of the survival of the building and where alterations do not harm its character or special interest.

9.26 The setting of a listed building may be limited to its immediate surroundings, but can include land some distance from it. It can best be protected and enhanced through the careful control of development including highways improvements, and the sensitive design of elements such as street furniture, and landscaping. To this end the County Council will expect developers to submit applications in sufficient detail to allow a full assessment of the impact of proposals. Outline applications will not be considered acceptable in such circumstances.

9.27 Alteration, extension and some repairs that affect the character of either the interior or exterior of a listed building require Listed Building Consent. Such works can include quite minor repairs (Welsh Office Circular 61/96 provides more detailed advice). Circular 61/96 also states that all reasonable efforts should be made to sustain existing uses or, failing that, find viable and appropriate new ones for listed buildings. The County Council shares the view that, wherever possible, listed buildings should be repaired and reused rather than demolished.

9.28 All such extension proposals should be in scale and sympathy with the existing building, and should include the use of traditional materials and construction techniques. The County Council has produced supplementary planning guidance, Historic Buildings - Principles of Repair, to advise owners and developers on the treatment of historic buildings and listed buildings. Moreover, it will strive to maintain its own listed buildings in a manner which provides an example of good practice.

9.29 Modern attachments such as satellite television antennae, solar panels and meter boxes, are generally incongruous on listed buildings and, in prominent positions, can detract significantly from their appearance or character. Change of use to residential, particularly of distinctive farm buildings, is especially difficult to achieve without significantly harming their traditional character. Where necessary, the Council will support the relaxation of building regulations, highway and other standards, in order to avoid damage to the character of listed buildings.

9.30 The demolition or substantial demolition of a listed building, structure or relevant structure within the curtilage of a listed building will not be permitted unless an exceptional case can be made as to why the building or structure cannot be retained. Consent will only be granted for such demolition in exceptional circumstances and only when the Council is satisfied that all attempts at finding a suitable new use, which would increase the likelihood of the building's survival, have been exhausted. Demolition of a listed building will not be permitted merely on the grounds that a building is unsafe, or that no reasonable alternative use can be found. Over time, economic circumstances may change, or financial grant aid may become available for any necessary works.

9.31 In the exceptional circumstances that demolition of a listed building is allowed, it cannot take place until the requirements of section 8 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 have been discharged. Detailed records may be taken of the building prior to the commencement of work. When consulted, the Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Wales will have advised whether they want to record. A scheme of either redevelopment or restoration must have been agreed prior to demolition.

 

HE3 Demolition in Conservation Areas

Development involving the substantial or total demolition of a building(s) or structure(s) in a Conservation Area will not be permitted unless the demolition and any proposed replacement building would preserve or enhance the character or appearance of the area.

9.32 Conservation Areas derive their character from a number of features including buildings and structures. Conservation area designation includes control over demolition, which may require conservation area consent. Although there is no statutory duty to have regard to the development plan in relation to conservation area consent, such applications are usually associated with planning applications for development proposals which should be determined in accordance with the plan under Section 54A. When this occurs an assessment will be made of the proposal’s impact on the character or appearance of the conservation area. In making such an assessment the Council will seek to preserve those buildings that contribute to the conservation area. Section 91 of Welsh Office Circular 61/96 details the criteria to be used in assessing planning applications and Conservation Area Consent.

 

HE4 Buildings of Local Interest

The demolition or alteration of any building or structure that is included on the List of Buildings of Local Interest will only be permitted where the following criteria apply:

  1. in the case of demolition that the building is structurally unsound, it cannot be made safe without extensive alteration or rebuilding and is incapable of refurbishment at a cost which is reasonable in relation to its degree of interest. The design of the replacement building should match or exceed that which has been demolished; or
  2. in the case of alteration and extension that the works do not adversely affect the architectural or historic character of the building.

9.33 This policy is designed to protect buildings or structures which are not currently listed, but which are nevertheless considered worthy of retention because of the significant contribution that they make to the local environment. These might include: buildings or groups of buildings formerly listed at Grade 3 (which afforded no statutory protection); buildings associated with important local historical events, people or activities; and buildings contributing to the setting of a listed building.

9.34 The County Council maintains a list of all such "buildings of local interest", giving reasons for their inclusion. Their demolition will be allowed only if the cost of repair would significantly outweigh their historic or architectural value. The Council will require that the replacement building is of a matching or higher standard and quality of design.

9.35 Where consent is required and alterations are subsequently permitted, care will be taken to ensure that these are not detrimental to the historic character of the building. In particular, attention will be given to ensuring that any features of architectural or historic interest are preserved and that all new work is in keeping with the character of the original building and its setting in terms of design, scale and materials.

9.36 In the exceptional circumstance that demolition is allowed, detailed records must be taken of the building prior to the commencement of works.

 

HE5 Protection of Registered Landscapes, Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest.

Development affecting land in the Register of Landscapes, Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in Wales and adjacent areas, particularly their zones of essential setting and significant views, along with historic parks and gardens of local interest, will be permitted only where there is no adverse effect on their special historic character, appearance or setting.

9.37 It is recognised that historic landscapes generally cover significant areas of land where it is only the more major developments which are likely to impact on the character of the overall landscape. Therefore, development within a registered landscape which is acceptable in terms of other Plan policies will not be permitted where it would have more than a local impact on the area identified in the Register. Instead the conservation of the landscape will be encouraged. Sufficient details should be submitted with all applications affecting historic landscapes, parks and gardens to satisfy the Council that proposals will not detract from views within, into or out of the designated area, including its Zone of Essential Setting, as indicated in the Register. The level of significance of the impacts of a development on a historic landscape will be assessed by the use of Assessment of Significance of the Impact of Development on Historic Landscape (ASIDOHL).

9.38 Where permitted, restoration should be based upon thorough historical research. To this end the County Council may require adequate architectural or archaeological investigation prior to the grant of planning permission.

9.39 There is also a list of Historic Parks and Gardens of Local Interest which has proved useful in considering planning decisions and appeals. It is the aim of the Council to view and consider the historic environment on a holistic basis. Since these local parks and gardens, within or outside designated areas, make an important contribution to the local history and distinctiveness of the County they should be safeguarded from detrimental effects of development.

 

HE6 Scheduled Ancient Monuments and other Nationally Important Archaeological Sites

Development that would remove, damage or obscure a Scheduled Ancient Monument or other nationally important archaeological site, or its setting, will not be permitted.

9.40 The Welsh Government must be consulted on any development proposal likely to affect a Scheduled Ancient Monument and Scheduled Monument Consent must be sought from the Welsh Government for any proposed works to a Scheduled Ancient Monument. This policy seeks to ensure the physical preservation of nationally important archaeological remains and there is a presumption in favour of their physical preservation in situ. To achieve this, a thorough archaeological field evaluation of the impact of any proposal likely to affect a nationally important archaeological site must be submitted before a decision on a planning application is taken. The developer will be required to provide the evaluation at their expense in accordance with a specification supplied by the County Council.

9.41 Such an evaluation should seek to define the character and condition of any monuments or remains within the application site and the likely impact of the proposed development on such features. In some cases it may be possible to satisfactorily the effects of the proposed development by the redesign of the proposal. In exceptional cases where the County Council decides that the physical preservation in situ of archaeological remains is not justified, it must be satisfied that there is appropriate and satisfactory provision for the investigation and recording of remains.

 

HE7 Other Sites of Lesser Archaeological Significance

Development that affects sites of either known or suspected local and/or regional archaeological interest and their settings will be permitted only where:

  1. an archaeological assessment has been carried out, before a decision is made on the proposal, to the satisfaction of the Council which evaluates the intrinsic importance of the remains; and
  2. the need to retain the interest that has been identified is outweighed by the need for the proposed development.

Where remains are affected but preservation in situ is not merited, excavations and/ or recording must be carried out to the satisfaction of the Council in advance of development commencing.

9.42 This policy seeks to protect other archaeological remains that are of less than national importance but which are nevertheless of significance. Where research indicates that archaeological remains are likely to exist, proposals for development will not be determined until suitable archaeological field evaluation has been undertaken to determine whether the remains are of local or regional importance. The developer will be required to provide the evaluation at its expense in accordance with a specification supplied by the County Council and also to identify the need for the development.

9.43 These policies seek to protect all important archaeological features, whether scheduled or not, from development that would damage their historic character. It applies to all sites listed on the Sites and Monuments Records, which, in addition to scheduled sites, also shows all other known or suspected archaeological sites.

9.44 The Council will then consider the intrinsic importance of the remains against the need for the development. Where archaeological remains are considered to be important enough to merit protection, or where the requirement for an assessment has not been met, planning permission will be refused (Circular 60/96).

9.45 The Welsh Government may give prior approval of Scheduled Ancient Monument Consent however the County Council could still withhold planning permission on the basis of local archaeological interest. The County Council supports in situ preservation as a preferred solution to excavation which should only be undertaken as a last resort. It is possible for development to take place with archaeological remains retained in situ and discussions should take place with the County Council at an early stage to reduce any potential conflict where possible. When in situ preservation is not feasible, excavation and recording should be undertaken before or during development. Any features which would otherwise be destroyed but which are capable of conservation should be removed for safekeeping prior to development commencing.

9.46 The County Council will seek mitigation measures through agreement with developers. In some circumstances it may be necessary to attach conditions to the planning permission to prohibit development until the required archaeological work is completed.

 

HE8 Recording of Historic permitted Features

Development will be only where there is provision for adequate recording of any historic features likely to be affected by the development.

9.47 This policy applies to all development which would impact upon valued architectural, archaeological or historic landscape features. The Council will require that adequate architectural or archaeological investigation is carried out prior to the grant of planning permission and in many cases will require that detailed records continue to be taken whilst the work is being carried out. Subsequent publication of the results will be required.

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