PPS 6: Planning, Archaeology and The Built Heritage
Planning and Conservation: Conservation and Economic Prosperity
1.10 Government policy is to promote economic vitality and growth through the ongoing regeneration of our built environment. One way this may be achieved is by ensuring that, to the fullest possible extent, the built heritage remains in continuing use or active re-use, as an integral part of the living and working community. Archaeological sites and monuments can rarely be re-used, but most historic buildings can still be put to good economic use in, for example, commercial or residential occupation. They are a valuable material resource and can make a positive contribution to economic prosperity and our overall quality of life, provided that they are properly maintained and their historic integrity is respected: the avoidable loss of fabric through neglect is a waste of economic as well as environmental resources.
1.11 Conservation itself can play a key part in promoting economic prosperity by ensuring that an area offers attractive living and working conditions which will encourage inward investment - environmental quality in today’s world is increasingly a key factor in many commercial decisions. In return, economic prosperity can secure the vitality of historic areas and buildings. What is crucially important is that any changes we do make are of a quality which future generations will respect and admire.
1.12 Collaborative, conservation-led approaches have been adopted as the basis for a number of successful regeneration initiatives. Careful and sensitive exploitation of the built heritage resource to achieve social, economic and environmental benefits can result in high quality sustainable solutions to the regeneration of urban and rural areas. The sympathetic rehabilitation of redundant housing above shops can, for example, play an important part in revitalising a declining town centre or historic urban quarter. The environmental impact of larger scale conservation initiatives can help to raise business confidence in an area and thus contribute to its economic regeneration. A renewed interest in and appreciation of the industrial heritage of a town or village can also help rekindle a sense of civic pride and local identity which can then be used as a catalyst for its more widespread regeneration. The contribution of conservation as an element in the wider process of physical and economic regeneration should not therefore be underestimated.
1.13 In addition the cultural and environmental value of features of the archaeological and built heritage can help promote an area as a visitor destination which can generate widespread economic benefits through tourism and leisure, for example. It is recognised however that tourism and recreation development can damage and destroy the assets it seeks to exploit through excessive visitor numbers, inappropriate development and other forms of adverse impact. The role of the planning system is to ensure that the growth and development of tourism based on heritage assets is compatible with proper long-term conservation.
1.14 Just as there is continuity between past and present, so also there is between present and future. We have a duty to care for what we ourselves have inherited not simply for our own benefit but also with a view to passing it on, as a living legacy, to those who come after us. We can add to our historic legacy by creating examples of high quality architecture and townscape and landscape design which can fittingly represent our own age in the decades and centuries to come.