Tuesday 14th March 2017
Monday 30th January 2017 Letter from Daventry District Council
Dear Mr Sheilds.
Firstly, may I thank you for attending the exhibition on behalf of the Althorp Estate, and for your aid so far during the drafting process of the Harlestone Village Conservation Area Appraisal.
Thank you for your letter dated 26th January 2017. The council is not currently in a formal stage of consultation, therefore I am not in a position to provide a formal response to the comments you raise, however there are a number of points that you raise that I thought it would be helpful to provide some feedback on as set out below:
The stated aim of the preliminary exhibition was to publicise the appraisal process furthering the presentation by DDC officers at the Harlestone Parish Council Meeting on 4th January 2017. The purpose of the exhibition was an initial information gathering and sharing opportunity during the drafting stage of the appraisal, prior to any boundary changes being formalised in the Appraisal document which will be available for public consultation.
Informal consultation at the exhibition at such an early stage is in accordance with DDC’s emerging review of its Statement of Community Involvement; plans shown at the exhibition therefore did not identify any proposed boundary change because those changes will be informed, in part, by the feedback at the exhibition. Plans which showed the current conservation area were unfortunately removed from the exhibition early on by an attendee.
It is important to remember that the exhibition was early in the review process, and further opportunities to comment on the appraisal including a revised boundary will be provided over a six week consultation period, together with a public meeting. The dates for these will be announced shortly.
The protection afforded to the buildings in Harlestone by the Estate is very welcome. However, conservation area status is an overarching statutory system which protects significant aspects of the historic environment, to an extent, in perpetuity. DDC has a statutory duty to review and designate new areas under Section 69 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990. DDC is committed to engaging with all stakeholders in the community to produce robust appraisal documents and designate areas based on their architectural or historic interest. As noted above, the ability to formally comment on any proposals will be facilitated by a six week consultation period as part of the process.
It is agreed that agricultural land and woodland of little historic significance should not normally be included in conservation area designation, as it is unlikely to meet the test of having special architectural or historic interest, nor is it the best way to protect such assets. However, in the case of Harlestone, the presence of a significant designed landscape and historic plantations which have direct associative value with the former Harlestone Park, redesigned in the early 19th century by Humphrey Repton and John Adey Repton, justify further analysis and could well satisfy the test. Furthermore, Historic England guidance states that “Setting is not a heritage asset, nor a heritage designation, though land within a setting may itself be designated….Its importance lies in what it contributes to the significance of the heritage asset. This depends on a wide range of physical elements within, as well as perceptual and associational attributes pertaining to, the heritage asset’s surroundings”. It is therefore appropriate to consider all aspects of Harlestone’s rural setting, including but not limited to listed buildings, such as views over surrounding countryside.
The area of study for the appraisal includes the area known as the “Builder’s Yard” and as such its relative significance will be taken into account, as well as any opportunities for its enhancement. DDC welcomes any information which may be pertinent to the appraisal regarding specific areas or properties.
Once the six week consultation is underway, there will be an opportunity to make formal comments to DDC – you will be notified when this consultation starts. It is currently intended to be in the middle of March.
Heritage Policy Officer