Shearsby Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Plan 2021
3.1 Conservation areas contain features and characteristics that make them unique, locally distinctive, historic places. Protection of the historic environment is widely recognised for the contribution it makes to the country's quality of life, cultural capital and economic well-being. Public support for conservation areas as distinctive places that give identity to people and communities is well established. Conservation areas protect the nation's unique, local heritage. Legislation and policy guidance reflects this.
3.2 The concept of 'conservation areas' was first introduced by the Civic Amenities Act 1967 which defined a conservation area as 'an area of special architectural or historic interest the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance.' Conservation area designation is not intended to prevent change but to manage change in ways that maintain and strengthen an area's special qualities. The definition remains unchanged in current legislation, set out in the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990. The Act places duties on local planning authorities to:
- Identify those parts of their area that are of special architectural or historic interest and to designate them as conservation areas;
- Review past designations from time to time;
- Prepare proposals for the preservation and enhancement of conservation areas;
- Pay special attention to the desirability of preserving and enhancing the character and appearance of conservation areas when determining planning applications for sites within such areas.
3.3 Designation of a conservation area recognises the character of an area worthy of preservation and enhancement and ensures the safeguarding of the best of our local heritage as represented by both the buildings and the ambient environment, ie: the spaces between and around buildings when viewed as a whole. Each area contains a number and variety of elements which combine to create its significance. Within the District of Harborough Shearsby is one of 63 conservation areas. Details of all the conservation areas can be found at https://www.harborough.gov.uk/directory/20/conservation_areas_in_harborough_district
3.4 Government policy is provided in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). It requires the significance of heritage assets – both its historic buildings and historic areas – to be understood by local authorities and by those who propose change. Changes that cause harm to significance will only be permitted where the harm is outweighed by wider public benefits. Further guidance on the use of the NPPF is provided in the National Planning Practice Guidance and in guidance published by Historic England.