Policy D3: Historic environment

GBC Policy

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.

GGG Response



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

Detailed Response

This policy clashes with the strongly pro-development agenda of the rest of the plan and fails to address the contradiction.  History is unamenable to improvement, so the policy should commit the Council firmly to protecting and preserving our heritage assets from development.  Instead, the specific policy pledge to “support development” that might “enhance” heritage assets leaves ample scope for abuse in the form of destructive commercialisation and financial leveraging.  

This policy is based on the false premise that Guildford’s heritage is inherently in decay.  This is a developer’s charter – a short step away from the idea that the historic environment needs to pay its way to be preserved. The Council’s aggressive reviews of Guildford Museum and the Electric Theatre support this interpretation.  Whatever the “reasoned justification”, the actual policy wording in the blue box leaves too many loopholes.  

Development close to historical assets is harmful and should be expressly prohibited.  This policy fails to meet the requirements of NPPF paragraphs 126 and 131-133.



2017 Guildford Local Plan

Guildford’s NEW local Plan has just opened for consultation. PLEASE RESPOND before 24th July 2017.  GGG has published its responses to Local Plan Policies here 

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