Policy D3: Historic environment

We will conserve and enhance the historic environment in a manner appropriate to its significance. We will support development of the highest design quality that will conserve and, where appropriate, enhance the special interest, character and significance of the borough’s heritage assets and their settings and make a positive contribution to local character and distinctiveness.

Heritage assets are an irreplaceable resource and works which would cause harm to the significance of a heritage asset, whether designated or non-designated, or its setting, will not be permitted without a clear justification to show that the public benefits of the proposal considerably outweigh any harm to the significance or special interest of the heritage asset in question.

Response: Part Object, Part Support

The policy appears reasonable. However, conserving and enhancing the historic environment may be damaged by supporting ancillary development. In historic locations (Chilworth Gunpowder Mills, the NT sites like Clandon Park or Hatchlands, Guildford Castle, Guildford Museum etc) this policy needs to have an overriding emphasis on protection rather than supporting development. The emphasis on supporting some development – in the context of an authority that has already set in place aggressive reviews of Guildford Museum and the Electric Theatre – should be viewed with some caution. The reasoned justification seems reasonable but it must be noted that it is the wording of the policy, rather than the associated explanation, that must be key.

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