Tuesday, 23 March 2010

New: PPS5 Planning & the Historic Environment

 UPDATED 24th March* see end of blogpost - Government Vision Statement link added

Finally published today is PPS5: Planning and the Historic Environment, the replacement policy document for England for PPG15 and PPG16.

A previous attempt at this replacement doc last year met with huge opposition from many organisations and individuals, in part as it referred to guidance to flesh out the bones which was to come from English Heritage, with no timescale for publication of such a document, and in part because there was concern that the document was worded in such a manner that there could be major downgrading of protection for the historic environment.

Well, all and sundry had their say, further representations were made to government departments, and a promise was made that a revised version would be available before Easter 2010. In addition to the quite brief PPS5, English Heritage has published its guidance which should be read alongside it.

PPG15 was a much-admired and indeed inspirational policy document, and some people can quote it in chunks and ref relevant and important parts, especially those paras which afforded very useful protection from unwarranted demolition of listed buildings and conservation area buildings, so let's hope that this proves as useful. There is also a mention of World Heritage Sites, let's keep fingers crossed that further protection can be strengthened for the Outstanding Universal Value of individual sites.

Planning circular on WHS:

I haven't read it thoroughly, at a quick reading all seems very dry when compared with the prose of PPG15 and I can't think I'll really ever feel comfortable talking about 'Heritage Assets'. I suppose all will learn to live with it and try to interpret it as best they can, in particular the parts regarding renewable energy and energy conservation, and I have no doubt clarifications will be required and fresh case law will eventually be made. It is to be hoped that the separation of policy from the Practice Guide (which is now a 'material consideration' for planning) doesn't mean the latter is treated as something so flexible that it confers, in reality, little protection, but I'm not holding my breath.

So, here it all is, policy doc and related publications:

Dept for Communities and Government:


Planning Policy Statement 5: Planning for the Historic Environment (PPS5) sets out the Government's planning policies on the conservation of the historic environment.

This replaces Planning Policy Guidance 15: Planning and the Historic Environment (PPG15) published on 14 September 1994; and Planning Policy Guidance 16: Archaeology and Planning (PPG16) published on 21 November 1990.

PPS5 will be supported by guidance prepared by English Heritage.

Further information and various downloads:


PPS5 as a PDF:

English Heritage:

Planning for the Historic Environment:

Putting Heritage at the Heart of the Planning System

Changes to the existing planning policy framework, part of Heritage Protection Reform, are delivering real benefits for the historic environment:

•Policy Statement 5: Planning for the Historic Environment, replaces Planning Policy Guidance notes 15 & 16 to bring heritage protection into the 21st century.

•English Heritage worked closely with the Departments of Communities and Local Government and Culture, Media and Sport to deliver a modern planning policy framework in an important step forward in the delivery of a reformed Heritage Protection system;

•PPS5 is supported by a Practice Guide,with further information on how to apply the policies in the PPS.

English Heritage Practice Guide:

PPS Practice Guide

Anyone familiar with PPGs 15 and 16 will see that the new PPS is significantly shorter than these documents. This is a deliberate decision, taken to make the PPS easier to use.

Shortening the PPS does not mean that protection afforded by PPG15 and 16 has been reduced - all areas are covered, just more clearly and succinctly.

The PPS Practice Guide supports the policies outlined in the PPS with explanations and guidance but adds no new policies itself.

The Practice Guide is a joint publication by CLG, DCMS and English Heritage. As such, although the PPS itself has primacy in plan-making and individual planning decisions, the Practice Guide carries governmental weight and is a material consideration in planning terms. This is no different to the situation with PPG15 and 16, except that policy and guidance are clearly separated, making the documents easier to use and understand.

Work is continuing on revising the existing Principles of Selection which accompanied PPG15. The Principles of Selection:


provide guidance on how to select heritage assets for national designation. This revised document will, in due course, accompany the PPS and will be supported by English Heritage Selection Guides:


The new EH Practice Guide as a PDF:


*Update: Government Vision Statement, including a great deal more information about climate change and the historic environment, useful case studies etc etc.  Two PDFs and a plain text link (the PDFs are better)



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