Local List and Non-Designated Heritage Assets

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF, February 2019) refers to ‘non-designated heritage assets’ as locally significant buildings, monuments, sites, places areas or landscapes identified by Local Planning Authorities. They can be included on a Local List, which Darlington doesn’t currently have, but they don’t have to be. An alternative is a criteria-based approach, which has been taken by a number of Local Authorities and has been shown to be effective at both application and appeal stage.

The production of a Local List remains as a goal in our Local Plan. However with current resources our criteria-based approach is thorough, transparent and pragmatic. Ultimately we hope it will lead to a Local List for public engagement.

Non-designated heritage assets are given less weight through the planning process than designated heritage assets such as Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas. However the NPPF says:

  • From a development management (planning applications) perspective, Local Planning Authorities should take them into account in determining planning applications:
    • “A balanced judgement having regard to the scale of any harm or loss and the significance of the asset.” (para 197)
    • Those of high archaeological significance are given as much weight as designated heritage assets. (footnote 63)
    • This can be achieved through advising on pre-application enquiries and determining planning applications
    • Demolition of non-designated heritage assets will require justification that sustainable use or reuse is not possible. Proposals for alteration or extension should consider impacts but not be onerous
  • From a strategic planning (Local Plan) perspective, Local Planning Authorities should have:
    • “Up-to-date evidence about the historic environment…[and]…use it to predict the likelihood that currently unidentified heritage assets…will be discovered in the future.” (para 187)
    • This will be achieved through inclusion within the Local Plan and through Conservation Area Character Appraisals and Management Plans

Once identified these buildings and sites will be recorded on the Council’s in-house UNIform system and will be added to the Historic Environment Record (HER) that Durham County Council manage (which includes Darlington) to inform future enquiries.

Criteria for assessing non-designated heritage assets

Darlington’s locally significant buildings, monuments, sites, places, areas or landscapes identified by Darlington Borough Council.

Criteria and descriptions
Criteria Description
Rarity Not many examples locally.  This can include unusual assets such as cast iron bridges and traditional signage or more common ones of unusual architectural style or materials.
Representativeness May be representative of a particular architectural period, architect, movement, company or group of its time, for example Quaker, railway, Victorian and industrial.
Architectural interest Of importance in its architectural design, decoration or craftsmanship; important examples of particular building types, materials and techniques (such as buildings displaying technological innovation) and significant plan forms.
Townscape or Landscape value Important landmark buildings or structures and buildings that strongly contribute to a view or roofscape vista. Valued open spaces, (including designed landscapes, streets, squares, parks, gardens, amenity and green spaces), walls, fences, railings, street surfaces (including cobbles, setts and grass verges).  Street furniture (including signposts, streetlights, benches, post boxes and telephone boxes).
Group value Groupings of assets with a clear visual, design or historic relationship (including farmyards, terraces, group form and layout), contribution to streetscene, roofscapes and perception.
Artistic interest An asset with artistic interest exhibiting some degree of creative skill (including sculpture, painting, decoration, advertisements, memorials, gates, railings, door surrounds, finials and signage).
Historic association Associated with an historical person or event of acknowledged note (including important local figures or events, for example landowner, commemorative event, charity, ecclesiastical or other community group and former resident). Highly unlikely this would apply to assets associated with a living person. 
Archaeological interest* There may be evidence to suggest that a site is of significant archaeological interest. To be assessed in conjunction with Durham County Council’s Archaeology Section.

Significance can be informed by a significant written record, for example the Historic Environment Record, Pevsner and published articles.

If the potential asset meets two or more of the criteria set out in the table above then it should be considered a Non-Designated Heritage Asset. Once identified as a Non-Designated Heritage Asset it should be recorded within Uniform to inform future proposals.

*Non-designated Heritage Assets of archaeological interest which are demonstrably of equivalent significance to Scheduled Monuments should be considered subject to the policies for designated heritage assets, as required by footnote 63 of the National Planning Policy Framework.

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