Research /

Making Heritage Work

Towards a better balance between heritage and growth

Commissioned by Historic England, our report 'Towards a Better Balance between Heritage and Growth' addresses public concern that many historic places are being damaged by unsustainable development.

by Jane Manning

This research was initiated by the Alliance of Historic Cathedral Cities and Towns (ACT), a group of civic societies whose members were concerned about the impact of new development on historic towns and cities. Together with ACT and the Historic Towns and Villages Forum, Allies and Morrison is pleased to publish the findings of the research. The study adopts a bottom-up approach, drawing a contrast to earlier policy research into England's cathedral cities. Extensive interviews with local civic societies and local authority officers in each of the twelve case study locations help to inform a comprehensive investigation into how heritage and growth could be better balanced in historic places.

The work was wide-ranging and identified a set of common themes and issues including staff resources and funding, housing targets and growth strategies, politics and economic priorities, design quality, climate change, stakeholder engagement and the decline of high street retail. The research identified common challenges and problems as well as numerous instances of good practice, which have informed a set of more than forty recommendations and a 'How to....' Toolkit on how to work together for better outcomes. The Toolkit presents a Local Plan Review process highlighting when different issues should be considered - such as transport, density, views, character and building heights - and how local planning authorities can draw on the enthusiasm, knowledge and experience available in civic societies and local volunteers to gather a sound evidence base.

Three final reports have been published: An Executive Summary of the findings, the Main Report and Detailed Analysis on the Issues and Opportunities.