Non-designated heritage assets

The district's historic environment is made up of heritage assets, both designated and non-designated.

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) defines a heritage asset as:

A building, monument, site, place, area or landscape identified as having a degree of significance meriting consideration in planning decisions, because of its heritage interest. It includes designated heritage assets and assets identified by the local planning authority (including local listing).

Designated heritage assets are: world heritage sites, listed buildings, conservation areas, scheduled monuments, registered parks and gardens and registered battlefields (also protected wreck sites).

But there are also a large number of buildings, structures and historic features within the Harrogate district which, while not statutorily protected by designation, are considered to be heritage assets of architectural, historic, archaeological or artistic interest. These heritage assets make a substantial contribution to the local character and appearance of the district and are worthy of conservation for the benefit of future generations.

Examples include farm buildings, outbuildings, industrial structures, non-conformist chapels, schools, community halls, houses, shops, industrial and military buildings, pre-historic or medieval earthworks, designed landscapes or gardens, road signs, bridges, pillar boxes, lamp posts, milestones, telephone boxes, post boxes, pinfolds, monuments, stiles, walls, gates. Please note that this list is by no means exhaustive.

How do I identify a non-designated heritage asset?

Our heritage management guidance supplementary planning document (SPD) contains criteria for identifying NDHA's.

It can be found within chapter 5 - criteria for identifying non-designated heritage assets

In order to be judged as a NDHA, the asset must meet two or more of the listed criteria. These criteria are set out in four groups

  • architectural
  • historic
  • artistic
  • and archaeological

An example is St. Joseph's RC Primary School, Bishop Thornton, which is of historical, aesthetic and communal significance. Dating from 1886, the school was built following the Education Act of 1870, which allowed local authorities to provide secular primary schools and a further Act in 1880 made primary school education mandatory. Unusually for its age, St. Joseph's RC School is built in a domestic revival style with a close studded mock timber frame sitting on top of a coursed stone plinth. The extent of timber framing and the red clay tile roof mean the building stands out among the stone buildings in Bishop Thornton and is a landmark in the townscape. The building is also within the setting of the Grade II Listed St. Joseph's Church and Presbytery.

Buildings of any age may be considered as a heritage asset, though buildings which date from the later twentieth century onwards will need to be of exceptional quality and design and will be subject to more rigorous assessment in terms of other criteria.

Other than within the conservation area character appraisals, we do not currently hold a list of NDHA's that have already been identified nor have any immediate plans to start a local list (a formal means of recording those buildings identified). Therefore, NDHA's are identified through the process of assessing planning applications.

However, we will seek to provide support to other organisations (such as Parish Councils and Civic Societies) wishing to create a local list. Such a list should use the criteria set out in the SPD. Further guidance on creating a local list can be found within Historic England - local heritage listing advice note.

Are planning applications affecting non-designated heritage assets assessed differently to standard buildings?

Non-designated assets are not subject to a separate consent regime; however, the effect of proposed development on the significance of a NDHA will be taken into account in determining the application, judged against specific national and local planning policies:

National planning policy

Significance is defined as (within the NPPF):

'The value of a heritage asset to this and future generations because of its heritage interest. The interest may be archaeological, architectural, artistic or historic. Significance derives not only from a heritage asset's physical presence, but also from its setting.'

It should be noted that the setting of a heritage asset is defined as the surroundings in which a heritage asset is experienced, regardless of whether this is from publicly accessible or privately owned land.

The following paragraph of the NPPF sets out how the potential impact of development on a NDHA will be considered by the council:

'197. The effect of an application on the significance of a non-designated heritage asset should be taken into account in determining the application. 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.'

Local plan policy

At a local planning policy level, our local plan contains policy HP2 - heritage assets. It requires that:

'Proposals for development should protect and, where appropriate, enhance those elements that contribute to the significance of the district's heritage assets. Special regard will be had to those aspects of the historic environment which are of particular importance to the distinctive character of the district.'

The policy also requires planning applications to:

'Demonstrate a thorough understanding of the significance of the heritage asset and its setting, how this has informed the proposed development, and how the proposal would impact on the asset's significance. This will be proportionate to the importance of the heritage asset and the potential impact of the proposal.'

And states that:

'Proposals which would remove, harm or undermine the significance of a non-designated heritage asset will be permitted only where the benefits are considered sufficient to outweigh the harm.'

The policy can be viewed in full within the local plan document.

It should be noted that demolition of a NDHA is considered to represent the most severe form of harm to significance.

Council guidance

In addition, our heritage management guidance supplementary planning document (SPD) contains guidance. The SPD is a material consideration in the determination of planning applications and appeals and supports the local plan policies. It states, within chapter 1 - introduction to guidance, paragraph 1.59:

'General principles for development that would affect non designated buildings or features:

  1. There is a presumption against any development which would remove, demonstrably harm or undermine the significance of a non-designated asset, or its contribution to the character of a place, unless the public benefits of the development would outweigh the harm;
  2. New development should enhance or reinforce those characteristics, qualities and features of the environment that contribute to local distinctiveness within the district’s rural and urban areas.'

Heritage management guidance SPD

Other relevant considerations

Another consideration may be the impact on the character and appearance of a conservation area, if the NDHA is located within one.

There are 53 conservation areas within the district and all contain a number of NDHA's. Some of these have been identified within the conservation area character appraisals - a document which tells the story of the area and sets out the area's special character and interest. The appraisal is used as a sound basis for making decisions on planning applications and to inform local planning policies.

'Buildings of local interest' are identified within the appraisals and these equate to being classed as a NDHAs. Such buildings are considered to make a positive contribution to the special interest of the conservation area and are considered to form part of the designated asset. Therefore when assessing development proposals, the impact on the significance of the building itself must be taken into account, in addition to the impact on the character and appearance of the designated conservation area.

However, it should be noted that the number identified in this way is not considered to be exhaustive and in all cases. The criteria set out above should be used in determining whether a building is a NDHA.

Conservation area character appraisals

Further reading

Additional guidance on alterations and extensions of non-designated heritage assets can be found within heritage management guidance - chapter 8.