Guiding principle 5: Conserving and enhancing the historic environment

To provide an attractive green infrastructure network that conserves and enhances the setting of heritage assets by:

  • defining, safeguarding and enhancing the important social, cultural and economic features of heritage assets, taking into account the setting of heritage assets and the role green infrastructure assets play in this
  • providing for access to and enjoyment of valued landscapes and heritage assets for recreation, education, and lifelong learning
  • strengthening or restoring historic links between heritage assets using green infrastructure

Why this is important for Devon and beyond

History matters. It matters to people who live in or visit Devon. It is part of the physical character and sense of identity of our towns, villages and countryside. It is what makes Devon such a great place to live, work and holiday.

Devon’s historic environment, its buildings, archaeological sites, landscapes and streetscapes, is exceptional in its quality and diversity. Making the most of the historic environment – protecting and enhancing it for everyone’s enjoyment and making it more accessible for the social, economic and health benefits this can bring – is an important part of planning, including planning for green infrastructure. Historic assets will often be associated with green infrastructure such as parks, woodlands and sometimes historic field and hedgerow patterns.

The National Planning Policy Framework sets out that sets out that heritage assets are an irreplaceable resource and that they should be conserved in a manner appropriate to their significance. Green infrastructure planning can be used to help achieve this.

Strategic priorities and approaches for working together across Devon

5.1: Recognise the historic environment when preparing policies, strategies and plans relating to green infrastructure, focussing on designated sites first, and then considering other local sites of significance.

5.2: Utilise guidance from Devon County Council about considering how the historic environment should be protected when undertaking development projects

5.3: Utilise the tools and information provided below to find out about the historic assets that surround you.

  • Your role

    Find out how you can get involved in the delivery of this guiding principle, whether you are an interested individual or community group, a landowner or a public authority.

    Local authorities

    Public Sector: Provide funding towards protection and enhancement of historic assets and associated green infrastructure.

    Planners: ensure that historic assets are appropriately recognised and protected through policy preparation and use. Policies should also strengthen the link between historic assets and green infrastructure.

    The positive enhancement of historic assets and related green infrastructure should be pro-actively planned for within local plans and development management decisions.

    Landowners, developers and design professionals

    Landowners: landowners of historic assets should consider how green infrastructure can aid the understanding of, improve connectivity with and enhance the setting of historic assets and manage the asset and surrounding land to improve these.

    Communities and individuals

    Neighbourhood planning bodies: prepare policies and plans through the neighbourhood planning process to ensure that heritage assets in the area are recognised, protected and enhanced. Where possible, uses consistent with the conservation of historic assets should be identified. The linkages between the historic environment and green infrastructure should be recognised and enhanced.

Tools and case studies to help you

Mapping of historic environment features

An interactive map of historic environment data kept by Devon County Council (coming soon).

Devon Historic Environment Record

Devon County Council maintains the Historic Environment Record, a comprehensive and dynamic resource of the historic environment of Devon. It provides information about archaeological sites, historic buildings, historic landscape and other heritage features within Devon.

Sensitive land management

Devon County Council has drawn up information about how to manage land in a manner which is sensitive to the historic environment.

National Planning Context

The National Planning Policy Framework and National planning Practice Guidance paragraphs on conserving and enhancing the historic environment.

Looking after heritage

English Heritage has information about caring for heritage.

Devon County Council Historic environment webpages

Our Historic environment website.