Following good practice principles can increase the chances of success in heritage led property development projects according to leading British experts. The British Property Federation (BPF), English Heritage, The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and Deloitte Real Estate have updated a practical guide for developers, owners, councils and property advisers on heritage projects.
It takes into account new national planning policy guidance and provides new case study evidence to show how heritage based regeneration can work in practice. The report is intended as the first stop reference document or toolkit for the regeneration of the historic environments and heritage buildings.
‘Heritage Works provides practical advice on what creates successful heritage led regeneration. It shows that by applying some basic principles, developers are giving themselves and our important historic buildings a much better opportunity for success,’ said Simon Thurley, chief executive of English Heritage.
The publication features a chart for navigating listed building consent and lists issues to consider when assessing heritage properties. It also considers the importance of breaking cycles of decline, as well as a range of issues such as concept development, economic benefits, characterisation, VAT, fund raising, CIL, the public realm and conservation management plans.
Liz Peace, chief executive of the BPF, said that England possesses some of the finest architectural heritage in the world. ‘When used properly as an asset, and given new life, it continues to be one of the cornerstones of the economic and social revival of many of our towns and cities. Such regeneration represents an opportunity for conservationists and the development industry to work together to transform the built environment and public realm for the communities that live and work there,’ she explained.
Enlightened developers and authorities are leading the way in realising that heritage assets can play a central role in achieving the successful and sustainable revitalisation of towns, cities and rural areas, according to Rob Colley, partner and head of public sector at Deloitte Real Estate.
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‘Historic buildings are increasingly seen as an opportunity rather than a constraint: they create focal points of character and can confer economic and social value beyond their own boundary. The work of Gloucester Renaissance, Royal William Yard in Plymouth and Leopold Square in Sheffield are great examples that heritage really works,’ he added.
‘Conservation meaning strict preservation is thankfully progressing towards a more balanced, flexible and enlightened approach, with a greater degree of consultation and collaboration between owners, developers, occupiers and planning authorities,’ he concluded.
Mark Walley, RICS UK and Ireland executive director, pointed out that early consultation with English Heritage and the local planning authorities, ensuring a viable economic use and paying the right price for the asset are important first steps.
‘We don’t have to go far to see successful schemes enhancing our built environment. The 53 acre redevelopment of the former railway lands at King’s Cross incorporates 20 historic buildings into its fabric, helping to define and enhance one of the most important regeneration projects in Europe,’ he said.
More than 80% of applications for listed building consents are granted and forthcoming research from English Heritage and the Heritage Lottery fund indicates that listed buildings are particularly favoured by retail and restaurant occupiers. They help to create vibrant urban environments, and that more than half of commercial occupiers of listed buildings are from professional services.