Wealden District Council

List of Buildings and Structures of Local Interest

Why have a 'Local List'?

Over the last few years Central Government has been putting growing emphasis on the need to promote 'local distinctiveness'. Local communities are increasingly being asked to highlight what they consider to be important within their familiar environment, and local people are being encouraged to play an active part in its protection. Intensive development pressures have highlighted the need to maintain and protect our local natural and built environment.

Those buildings and structures which are of national importance in terms of their historical or architectural interest are included on a nationally compiled 'Statutory List' - i.e. what are generally termed as 'Listed Buildings'. Proposed changes to these buildings are assessed and controlled by means of applications for 'Listed Building Consent'.

We all know of local buildings which help to define the areas where we live and work. Many but not all of them are historic buildings which add visual interest to the street scene or which may be associated with 'important' local people or past events which had particular relevance to the village or town where they are located.

Many buildings, whilst not on the 'Statutory List', clearly contribute to the local scene or are valued for their local historical associations. These buildings make a contribution to the character and historical legacy of the areas in which they are located. Examples range from small terraced houses through to large country mansions.

They may be important for a variety of reasons such as an association with important aspects of local history or for being examples of particular local building styles. Local builders in the past often had 'trade mark' styles or incorporated distinctive detailing into the houses which they built. The local environment is all the richer where the special character of these buildings can be maintained. Awareness and forethought prior to making any changes are often all that are needed to protect the very features which make these buildings so important.

A 'Local List' for each Parish or town would provide the 'database' necessary to promote local awareness of the importance of these buildings.

Has any progress yet been made?

The practice of compiling a list of 'buildings of local importance' has already been adopted in many parts of the country, generally as a joint initiative between the local Parish / Town Council and the District or Borough Council.

Early in 2006 representatives from parishes and towns attended a series of 'focus' groups hosted by the District Council. It was felt that a consolidated 'Local List' containing buildings and other structures from as many parishes and towns as possible could play an important role in helping to protect those buildings which whilst not nationally listed, clearly mean a lot to local people for a variety of reasons.

Since the Council started the process of considering a local list in 2006, the National Planning Policy Framework has come into force and English Heritage has also published a Local Listing Good Practice Guide (pdf).

Consultation on whether Wealden should have a local list and potential objective criteria for Local Listing, to sit alongside new local plan policy, will be formulated as part of a consultation process with local communities, in line with English Heritage Good Practice, and will take place as part of the new Local Plan.

Will buildings on the 'Local List' receive any additional statutory protection?

The 'Local List' is a 'non-statutory' designation. Buildings on the list will not be subject to new or additional controls. The existing planning controls over changes of use, external alterations, extensions etc. will continue to apply and will remain unchanged.

If no additional controls are involved what does the 'Local List' aim to achieve?

Much can be done to help protect the character of locally important buildings by raising their 'profile', without the need for extra controls.

The 'Local list' initiative is aimed at:

  • ensuring that these buildings enjoy the recognition which they deserve
  • raising public awareness of the importance of these buildings to the local environment
  • encouraging owners to protect and maintain the character of such buildings
  • ensuring that planners, architects, builders, and others concerned with development proposals are aware of the need to give special attention to such buildings.