As well as considering the physical form of the aforementioned heritage assets, there is also a requirement to have special regard to the desirability of preserving the setting of a heritage asset. The NPPF defines setting as:
'The surroundings in which a heritage asset is experienced. Its extent is not fixed and may change as the asset and its surroundings evolve. Elements of a setting may make a positive or negative contribution to the significance of an asset, may affect the ability to appreciate that significance or may be neutral'. NPPF Glossary.
The extent and importance of setting is often expressed by reference to visual considerations. Although views of or from an asset will play an important part, the way in which we experience an asset in its setting is also influenced by other environmental factors such as noise, dust and vibration from other land uses in the vicinity, and by our understanding of the historic relationship between places. For example, buildings that are in close proximity but are not visible from each other may have a historic or aesthetic connection that amplifies the experience of the significance of each.
The setting itself is not designated. Every heritage asset, whether designated or not has a setting. Its importance, and therefore the degree of protection it is offered in planning decisions, depends entirely on the contribution it makes to the significance of the heritage asset or its appreciation.
No additional consent is required to alter the setting of any heritage asset. Works may require planning permission and additionally new works within the setting of a listed building or scheduled monument may require listed building consent or scheduled monument consent, as appropriate, if they physically attach to or physically impact upon the building or site.
Church towers and spires are often widely visible across North Norfolk landscape and townscape but, where development does not impact on the significance of heritage assets visible in a wider setting or where not allowing significance to be appreciated, they are unlikely to be affected by small-scale development, unless that development competes with them, as solar farms or wind turbines may. Even then, such an impact is more likely to be on the landscape values of the tower or spire rather than the heritage values, unless the development impacts on its significance, for instance by impacting on a designed or associative view.
Assessing Impact on Setting
- Step 1:
Identify which heritage assets and their settings are affected
- Step 2:
Assess the degree to which these settings make a contribution to the significance of the heritage asset(s) or allow significance to be appreciated
- Step 3:
Assess the effects of the proposed development, whether beneficial or harmful, on that significance or on the ability to appreciate it
- Step 4:
Explore ways to maximise enhancement and avoid or minimise harm
- Step 5:
Make and document the decision and monitor outcomes