New app to help safeguard local heritage

Last Updated: 7 September 2021

7 September 2021

People across Cumbria are being invited to help protect their cherished local heritage as part of a county-wide project being led by South Lakeland District Council (SLDC).

Cumbria is one of 22 areas to secure funding from the Ministry of Communities, Housing & Local Government for its Local Heritage Listing campaign.

This £1.5 million government campaign is designed to help protect the “commonplace or everyday” heritage assets that are valued by people locally but which do not have any existing protection in their own right under planning law.

Cumbria has been successful in securing £140,000 to launch the campaign across the county, including the Lake District National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The campaign roll-out is being led by conservation and planning specialists at SLDC and the partner organisations, and will see the launch of an app this October. The app will enable members of the public to pinpoint the places they would like to be safeguarded, by uploading photos and location details of anything from architecture to landscape, field boundaries, parks, gardens, historic street furniture and signs.

These nominations will be considered by a panel made up of council and voluntary heritage group representatives from across Cumbria, and the resulting proposed Local Heritage List will go out to public consultation in spring 2022.

Historic England’s guidance on Local Heritage Lists states that “local distinctiveness may lie as much in the commonplace or everyday as it does in the rare or spectacular”.

SLDC Leader Councillor Jonathan Brook, Portfolio Holder for Promoting South Lakeland and Innovation, said: “A non-designated heritage asset can be anything from a piece of street furniture to a house designed by a local architect or lived in by someone noteworthy; an old pub or barn; a park or garden; a statue or carving; or a site with importance for agriculture, commerce or industry – anywhere or anything that you think deserves to be protected.

“We are very excited to be leading this Local Heritage Listing campaign for Cumbria, which has been made possible thanks to the successful county-wide funding bid made by our friends at Allerdale Borough Council last year.

“As well all know, Cumbria is famed around the world for the richness of its heritage, and some of these wonderful locations will be celebrated in this year’s Heritage Open Days, starting this week on Friday 10 September.

“Many of these assets already benefit from the protection given by such designations as Listed Buildings, Scheduled Monuments, Registered Historic Parks, Tree Preservation Orders, Conservation Areas and UNESCO World Heritage Site status.

“However, for every treasure such as Dove Cottage at Grasmere, Cartmel Priory or Beatrix Potter’s Hill Top farmhouse at Near Sawrey, there are dozens of lesser-known heritage assets on people’s doorsteps that are non-designated. This means they do not have any special protection or rights of consideration in place when planning applications are made.

“The Local Heritage Listing campaign will allow people across Cumbria to tell us about the places and features they cherish and why they want to see them protected for future generations by being placed on a Local Heritage List for the county.

“As well as residents, we are hoping that civic societies, town and parish councils and local history groups will share their considerable local knowledge with us by taking part when we launch the app in October.”

Historic England’s Advice Note on Local Heritage Listing states: “Whilst the planning protections for non-designated heritage assets are not as strong as those for designated heritage assets, they are still important.” Once finalised, Local Heritage Lists are to be made public and also linked to the mapping systems used by local planning authorities such as SLDC to ensure that “planning applications affecting locally listed assets can take full account of the significance the community attaches to those assets”.

The Government’s National Planning Policy Framework states: “In weighing applications that directly or indirectly affect non-designated heritage assets, a balanced judgement will be required, having regard to the scale of any harm or loss and the significance of the heritage asset.” Planning authorities are required to consider the desirability of putting the assets “to viable uses consistent with their conservation” as well as “the positive contribution that conserving such heritage assets can make to sustainable communities including their economic viability”. Planning applications can be refused on the grounds of harm to a non-designated heritage asset.

To find out more about the local events happening for this year’s Heritage Open Days (10-19 September 2021) visit: www.heritageopendays.org.uk