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New selection criteria set to boost Colchester’s Local List

The previous selection criteria made no provision for heritage assets other than buildings

Date issued: 25 October 2019

Following a recent public consultation, the Local Plan Committee has agreed new selection criteria for Colchester’s Local List, which champions the local historic environment and non-designated heritage assets in the borough.

The previous selection criteria made no provision for heritage assets other than buildings. The revised selection criteria have now been expanded to include other types of heritage asset, in line with the broad definition of heritage assets in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and Historic England’s Advice Note 7, and will also now meet the requirements of the planning process in accordance with the NPPF and Local Plan.

The new standards provide a more robust set of ground rules to determine which historic buildings and assets to include on any future list and extends the local area to cover the whole of the borough, not just Colchester and Wivenhoe.

The Local Plan Committee, which met on Monday (21 October), also adopted the former Pumping Station in Rowhedge onto the Local List. The disused but architecturally distinctive early 20th century building at Rowhedge Wharf had been identified as a heritage asset that should be included in the Local List as soon as possible, having survived almost completely intact but at risk from new development.

The Local List records and safeguards heritage assets which, although not suitable for designation nationally as a Listed Building or Scheduled Monument, are considered historically or architecturally important at a local level. These can include a range of historic assets – from individual buildings and whole streetscapes to single features such as railings, lamp posts or post boxes – which are valued by the local community and make a significant contribution to the character and setting of Colchester and the surrounding villages.

The Local List for Colchester town was adopted by the council in 2011, following an identification and selection process by a panel of heritage specialists, the Colchester Historic Buildings Forum. A year later the Local List for Wivenhoe, prepared by the Wivenhoe Townscape Forum, was also adopted by the council. 

Any person or group can nominate a building or asset for inclusion or removal on the Local List by contacting the council for further advice. All new candidates will be assessed by officers with expertise in the historic environment, and where necessary supported by external expertise, before a recommendation based on sound evidence is made to the council. To make a representation, please email: local.plan@colchester.gov.uk 

Cllr Julie Young, Portfolio Holder for Business & Culture and Deputy Leader of the Council, said: “I would like to thank everyone who took part in the recent consultation and whose ideas have helped shape the new Local List selection criteria.

“With over 2,000 years of unique and fascinating history to draw upon, the heritage list provides an extra tool to help champion the local historic environment for the benefit of current and future generations.

“The Local List is your chance to tell us what treasures of the past matter most to you – so I would urge the public to step forward with suggestions for heritage gems to include in future lists and help us make a Better Colchester.”

Communities secretary Robert Jenrick recently urged more local authorities to draw up local lists of buildings that are of significant historical and cultural value, saying currently only half of planning authorities in the UK hold local lists and they are “often out of date or incomplete”.

Under a new scheme – which has been allocated £700,000 – people will be encouraged to nominate buildings in their area and a heritage champion will be appointed to encourage councils’ local listings.

To learn more about which buildings are on currently on the Colchester Local List, visit the Colchester Historic Buildings Forum website: www.colchesterhistoricbuildingsforum.org.uk/drupal or the council’s interactive planning map

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