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17 April 2012

The Historic Environment team at Essex County Council works with local planning authorities to conserve and protect listed buildings, sites of historic interest and conservation areas. All buildings and sites are listed on the Unlocking Essex’s Past website, which serves as an invaluable resource for anyone interested in the rich heritage of the county.


The work undertaken by the Historic Environment team at Essex County Council is informed by national policy guidelines and legislation. The most relevant documents are a suite of three, all published in March 2010. These are as follows:

  • Planning Policy Statement 5 (PPS 5) – planning for the historic environment
  • Historic Environment Planning Practice Guide – primarily shaped by English Heritage. This provides guidance as to how PPS 5 is to be implemented
  • The government’s statement on the Historic Environment for England 2010, which contains the following legislation
  • That the value of the historic environment is recognised by all who have the power to shape it
  • That government gives it proper recognition and that it is managed intelligently and in a way that fully realises its contribution to the economic, social and cultural life of the nation.

Listed buildings

Listing buildings require special planning consent before alterations can be made to them. Further information can be found on the listed buildings page, or on the English Heritage website. A copy of the policy underlining planning decisions in the historic environment can be downloaded free of charge from the website.

Scheduled monuments

A scheduled monument is an archaeological site which is deemed to be of national importance. The protection given to scheduled sites is outlined in the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. More detailed information about scheduled monuments is contained on the English Heritage website. A policy statement on scheduled monuments can be accessed on the website of the Department for Culture, Media and Sports.

Conservation areas

A conservation area is an area considered worthy of preservation or enhancement because of features, “the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance”. Policy regarding conservation areas is contained within the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.
As with listed buildings, from 23 March 2010, current planning policy on conservation areas within England is contained within Planning Policy Statement 5: Planning and the Historic Environment, which can be downloaded from the website.