Conwy Local Development Plan 2007 - 2022

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4.7 CULTURAL HERITAGE

4.7.1 Spatial Objectives

SO6, SO10, SO12, SO13, SO16.

4.7.2 Cultural Heritage Strategic Statement

4.7.2.1 Historic areas play a key role in fulfilling the objectives of the Local Development Plan (LDP), whether they form commercial or shopping centres, visitor attractions, or attractive and interesting places to live. The Council is keen to ensure that such assets are protected from inappropriate development, and will take the opportunity to enhance historic areas and buildings where this is needed.


4.7.2.2 Laws and detailed national planning policy and guidance specifically concerning the protection of the historic environment and sites of archaeological importance apply, however the importance of adopting a holistic view to the protection of heritage assets should not be underestimated. Heritage assets such as historic landscapes, parks and gardens and buildings and structures of local importance do not benefit from statutory designation, although these contribute significantly to the interest and distinctive character of a place.


4.7.2.3 This LDP, therefore, includes strategic level policies relating to development and historical assets with details and management proposals to suit the characteristics and meet the challenges of each individual area provided within supplementary planning guidance.


4.7.2.4 The Welsh language is an important part of the fabric of local communities. The Council is committed to protecting this and encouraging development which supports and sustains the long term well-being of the Welsh language.


4.7.2.5 Background papers BP/28 – ‘Historic Environment’ and BP/33 – ‘Welsh Language Impact Assessment’ provide more information on the prevalent issues.
 

STRATEGIC POLICY CTH/1 – CULTURAL HERITAGE

The council is committed to protecting and, where appropriate, enhancing its cultural and heritage assets. This will be achieved by:

  1. Ensuring that the location of new development on both allocated and windfall sites within the Plan Area will not have a significant adverse impact upon heritage assets in line with Policies CTH/2 – ‘Development Affecting Heritage Assets’, DP/3 – ‘Promoting Design Quality and Reducing Crime’ and DP/6 – ‘National Planning Policy and Guidance’;
  2. Recognising and respecting the value and character of heritage assets in the Plan Area and publishing Supplementary Planning Guidance to guide development proposals;
  3. Seeking to preserve and, where appropriate, enhance conservation areas, Conwy World Heritage Site, historic landscapes, parks and gardens, listed buildings, scheduled ancient monuments and other areas of archaeological importance in line with Policy DP/6;
  4. Protecting buildings and structures of local importance in line with Policy CTH/3 – ‘Buildings and Structures of Local Importance’;
  5. Enhancing heritage assets through heritage and regeneration initiatives;
  6. Preserving and securing the future of heritage assets by only permitting appropriate enabling development in line with Policy CTH/4 – ‘Enabling Development’;
  7. Ensuring that development is compatible with the long-term viability of the Welsh Language in line with Policy CTH/5 – ‘The Welsh Language’.

4.7.3 Development Affecting Heritage Assets

Policy CTH/2 – DEVELOPMENT AFFECTING HERITAGE ASSETS

Development proposals which affect a heritage asset listed below (a-f), and/or its setting, shall preserve or, where appropriate, enhance that asset. Development proposals will be considered in line with Policy DP/6, where applicable and Policy DP/3.

  1. Conservation Areas
  2. Conwy World Heritage Site
  3. Historic Landscapes, Parks and Gardens
  4. Listed Buildings
  5. Scheduled Ancient Monuments
  6. Sites of archaeological importance


4.7.3.1 There are 25 conservation areas designated within the Plan Area. The designations have been derived locally, and each conservation area is unique in character. The management of conservation areas has historically been provided by a set of over-arching policies that apply to all conservation areas. The approach adopted in this plan is to produce SPGs for particular themes or issues that are common to most, if not all, conservation areas and also formulate SPGs covering all conservation areas (based on the Conservation Area Appraisals and Management Plans) to proactively manage and guide development proposals.


4.7.3.2 Pressures for change within the majority of conservation areas in the Plan Area have been steadily mounting, with the special character and distinctiveness of many areas being significantly adversely affected by small-scale changes to many properties and larger scale alterations. In particular, installation of UPVC windows, doors, fascias and rainwater goods has had a negative impact on the character of a number of conservation areas. This is an example of problematic issues common to most conservation areas where additional guidance will be provided through an SPG.


4.7.3.3 Over recent years, pressure for development in low-density conservation areas has led to an increasing number of applications for demolition, redevelopment, infilling and backland development. Although national planning policy encourages prudent use of land with preference for the development of brownfield land within existing settlements, the character of low-density conservation areas, for example Pen y Cae, Penmaenmawr and Pwllycrochan, Colwyn Bay, should not be eroded. High density development, which is inconsistent with the built form of such areas, harms their character and there shall be a presumption against such development.


4.7.3.4 Where development or demolition proposals affect buildings or structures which contribute in a neutral or positive manner towards the special architectural and historic character of a conservation area there will be a presumption in favour of only those proposals that preserve or, if possible, enhance the character of the designated area. Where the character of conservation areas has been adversely affected by inappropriate changes and developments are proposed, the Council will seek to enhance rather than preserve the existing character by, for instance, the restoration of historic development and features.


4.7.3.5 Conwy castle (including the town walls) is a World Heritage Site. This designation highlights the international importance of the site. The Plan will advance proposals and guidance which reflect the pre-eminence of the designation together with the town’s conservation area. UNESCO requires the preparation of a management plan to guide development affecting World Heritage Sites. A draft management plan has been prepared which includes a buffer zone intended to protect the setting of Conwy World Heritage Site. The Council will also consider the wider setting of the World Heritage Site which extends beyond the setting as shown on the proposals map, in line with Policy CTH/2. In addition to this management plan the Council will prepare proposals for the conservation area designation of Conwy town that will be framed within a World Heritage Site and Conservation Area Management Plan. An SPG will then be formulated from these documents.


4.7.3.6 The inclusion of parks and gardens in the Cadw/ICOMOS Register does not confer any extra statutory controls. New development which is proposed within or affecting the setting of a registered historic park and garden should not harm its special interest. Enabling development proposals within historic landscapes, parks and gardens should be systematically assessed to ensure that the special character of these assets are preserved. Development proposals which fall within registered historic landscapes, parks and gardens will be assessed against Policy CTH/2, the Guide to Good Practice on using the Register of Landscapes of Historic Interest in Wales, the SPG on the Natural Environment, Policy CTH/4 and the SPG on Enabling Development where relevant.


4.7.3.7 The Council recognise the importance of pre-application advice in order to ensure appropriate options for changes to listed buildings are fully considered to preserve their character prior to the formal submission of an application. All proposals to carry out works to listed buildings need to be fully justified in terms of ensuring that the special historical and architectural character and features of significance of the buildings and their settings are preserved. The demolition of listed buildings or the partial demolition of significant parts of a listed structure will only be allowed on the rarest of occasions where overriding justification is proven. There is also a need to consider Strategic Policy NTE/1 – ‘The Natural Environment’ with regards to statutory protected species, their habitats and resting places when assessing proposals for works to listed buildings. An SPG will be produced on listed buildings to provide information and guidance to applicants.


4.7.3.8 The implications of climate change and the increasing importance of energy efficiency in buildings will lead to increased conflict with conservation objectives. Sustainable solutions should be pursued where these would not significantly or irreversibly damage historic interests. Cadw published guidance on renewable energy and the historic environment in 2010. An SPG will be produced that sets out the principles and policies for energy conservation and renewable energy proposals affecting historic buildings, areas and parks, gardens and landscapes.


4.7.3.9 Development should be sensitive to the preservation of archaeological remains and national policies stress the need to evaluate sites, record them and preserve those that are most important. Consultations with Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust and Gwynedd Archaeological Trust have revealed that some of the proposed strategic allocations may require archaeological assessments or evaluation prior to any development taking place. Consultation responses such as these will be taken into account when producing development briefs for these sites or when assessing developers’ proposals.


4.7.3.10 Scheduled ancient monuments form only a small proportion of the total number of archaeological and historic sites. When considering proposals on unscheduled archaeological sites, the Council will consult with the Clwyd-Powys/Gwynedd Archaeological Trusts, and take into account the interest and importance of the sites and their settings. Where necessary the Council will require that sites are properly assessed and evaluated before deciding on whether to grant planning permission. Planning permission will be refused if the archaeological site is of sufficient interest to merit protection from disturbance altogether. Preservation and recording of sites may also be secured through the use of planning conditions and agreements. An SPG will be produced to guide development proposals on these matters.

4.7.4 Buildings and Structures of Local Importance

Policy CTH/3 – BUILDINGS AND STRUCTURES OF LOCAL IMPORTANCE

Development proposals affecting buildings or structures which make an important contribution to the character and interest of the local area will only be permitted where the building’s distinctive appearance, architectural integrity and its setting would not be significantly adversely affected.


4.7.4.1 There are a significant number of buildings and structures which by reason of their design, materials and social and historical connections are fundamental parts of the character and identity of their locality. These buildings and structures should be retained, and appropriate uses sought to maintain their essential character. A local list of such buildings will be compiled from visual surveys and consultation with local interest groups. LDP8 – ‘Buildings and Structures of Local Importance’ SPG sets out the methodology for such a list and identifies criteria and additional controls, for example, Article 4 directions.

4.7.5 Enabling Development

Policy CTH/4 – ENABLING DEVELOPMENT

  1. Enabling development which seeks to secure the preservation and/or appropriate alternative use of a listed building, or a building which makes a significant positive contribution to the character of a conservation area, historic landscape or parks and gardens of special historic interest will only be permitted where the following criteria are all met:
  1. It will not materially harm the heritage values of the historic asset or its setting and;
  2. It avoids detrimental fragmentation of management of the historic asset; and
  3. It will secure the long-term future of the historic asset and, where applicable, its continued use for a sympathetic purpose and;
  4. It is necessary to resolve problems arising from the circumstances of the present owner, or the purchase price paid and;
  5. Sufficient subsidy is not available from any other source and;
  6. It is demonstrated that the amount of enabling development is the minimum necessary to secure the future of the historic asset, and that its form minimizes harm to other public interests and;
  7. The public benefit of securing the future of the historic asset through such enabling development decisively outweighs the disbenefits of breaching other public policies.
  1. If it is decided by the Council that a scheme of enabling development meets all the criteria set out above, planning permission should then only be granted if:
  1. The impact of the development is precisely defined at the outset, normally through the granting of full, rather than outline, planning permission;
  2. The achievement of the heritage objective is securely and enforceably linked to the enabling development;
  3. The place concerned is repaired to an agreed standard, or the funds to do so made available, as early as possible in the course of the enabling development, ideally at the outset and certainly before completion or occupation and;
  4. The Council closely monitors implementation, if necessary acting promptly to ensure that obligations are fulfilled.


4.7.5.1 Enabling development which conflicts with planning policies or sound conservation principles is often advanced as a measure which will allow a listed building or building of local importance to be preserved or rescued from dilapidation and/or disuse. These buildings are frequently redundant, unused and possess large areas of surrounding land, including parks and gardens or landscapes that are themselves of special interest. Development proposals should be considered and formulated with an understanding of the design and significance of buildings and their settings, parks and gardens and their relationship with the historic buildings that are located within and adjacent to them. For example preserving key views and vistas to the building, and views from the building to its surroundings will be important determining considerations. Policy CTH/4 has been prepared in accordance with Cadw’s ‘Conservation Principles for the sustainable management of the historic environment in Wales’. An SPG on Enabling Development will provide guidance on the application of this policy.

4.7.6 Welsh Language

Policy CTH/5 – THE WELSH LANGUAGE

  1. The Council will ensure that development supports and sustains the long term well-being of the Welsh language, and will resist development which, because of its size, scale or location, will significantly harm the character and linguistic balance of a community. The LDP strategy has been assessed for Welsh language impact and the following requirements identified:
  1. Allocated housing sites in Abergele and Llanrwst and the allocated mixed use site in Dolgarrog will require ‘Mitigation Statements’ in line with the results of the Welsh Language Impact Assessment;
  2. A ‘Community and Linguistic Statement’ should accompany:
  • Housing applications on unallocated sites of ten units or more in the Urban Development Strategy Area and five units or more in the Rural Development Strategy area;
  • A commercial, industrial or tourist development on unallocated sites with an area of 1,000 square metres or more in the Plan Area and;
  • Development which is likely to lead to the loss of community facilities as defined in Policy CFS/6.
  1. Once housing windfall delivery is met for a spatial strategy area in line with figures in table 3 HOU1a, this will trigger a review which would introduce assessment of all unallocated housing applications against the Welsh language;
  2. A more detailed assessment in the form of a ‘Community and Linguistic Impact Assessment’ should accompany:
  • Housing applications on windfall sites of 20 units or more in the Urban Development Strategy Area and ten units or more in the Rural Development Strategy Area;
  • A commercial, industrial or tourist development on unallocated sites with an area of 2000 square metres or more in the Plan Area.
  1. The Council will encourage throughout the Plan Area both the provision of bilingual signs and the retention of traditional Welsh names for new developments and streets.


4.7.6.1 The Welsh language is an important part of the fabric and heritage of local communities. The Council will support and promote the Welsh language by ensuring there is sufficient employment and housing opportunities to retain Welsh-speakers throughout the Plan Area and limiting development in the Villages and Hamlets.


4.7.6.2 BP/10 – 'Sustainability Appraisal/Strategic Environmental Assessment' and BP/33 – ‘Welsh Language Impact Assessment’ details the assessment of the LDP Spatial Strategy for Welsh language impact. As a result of the assessment work, applicants should submit a Mitigation Statement at application stage to determine the nature of any mitigation for the housing allocations in Abergele and Llanrwst and the mixed use site in Dolgarrog. The Council will prepare LDP6 – ‘Welsh Language’ Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) to inform applicants of the requirements of a Mitigation Statement.


4.7.6.3 Unanticipated types of development, on sites not allocated in the LDP and not included in the windfall (below ten units) supply, may require assessment to determine Welsh language impact. Applications on unallocated housing sites for ten units or more in the Urban Development Strategy Area and five units or more in the Rural Development Strategy Area will require Welsh language assessment in the form of a Community and Linguistic Statement, including details of mitigation measures. Once the housing windfall target is met for a spatial strategy area as per the figures in table 3 HOU1a, this would trigger a review of the LDP with the requirement to assess all future housing applications on unallocated sites for Welsh language impact.


4.7.6.4 Commercial, industrial or tourist developments on unallocated sites with an area of 1,000 square metres or more and proposals which would be likely to lead to the loss of a community facility as defined in Policy CFS/6 would also require assessment through a Community and Linguistic Statement. This should be submitted at planning application stage and details of what is required in the Statement will be included in the Welsh Language SPG.


4.7.6.5 Where applications are submitted in the Plan Area on unallocated sites of a larger scale, substantially over all of the above thresholds, including large scale residential, commercial, and industrial, tourism and infrastructure developments, the cumulative impacts on communities and the Welsh language are likely to be greater. Such proposals should be accompanied by a Community and Linguistic Impact Assessment, including details of mitigation measures. This should also be submitted at planning application stage and details of what is required in the Assessment will be included in the Welsh Language SPG.


4.7.6.6 The results of the Community and Linguistic Statements, Impact Assessments and Mitigation Statements submitted in line with Policy CTH/5 will be assessed at application stage and the Council will resist developments which, because of its size, scale or location, will significantly harm the character and linguistic balance of a community.


4.7.6.7 Signs, development and street names are all ways of promoting the distinctive culture of Wales and should be encouraged through the planning process.

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