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Setting of Historic Assets

Setting refers to the surroundings in which your historic asset is understood, experienced and appreciated, including present and past relationships to the surrounding landscape. The importance of setting lies in what it contributes to the significance of your historic asset.

Setting is primarily visual, but can also include other features like tranquillity or remoteness. Its extent is not fixed and may change as the monument and its surroundings evolve. The setting of a historic asset can include physical elements of its surroundings, relationships with other historic features, natural or topographic features and its wider relationship and visibility within its landscape.

Understanding the setting of your historic asset can help you to draw up appropriate development proposals. This process can be used to identify alternative approaches and lead to improvements in the planning and design of your proposals so that they minimise harm and maximise benefit to the significance of a historic asset and its setting.

If you are applying for planning permission you will need to provide the local planning authority with sufficient, but proportionate, information to allow the assessment of the likely impact of proposals for development on a historic asset and its setting. This includes  World Heritage Sites, ancient monuments (scheduled and unscheduled), listed buildings, registered historic parks and gardens, and conservation areas. This information will help the local planning authority to understand the reasons for your proposals when they are determining your planning application.

Setting is also a consideration in applications for listed building, conservation area and scheduled monument consents. Your assessment of setting may form part of a heritage impact statement.

Setting of Historic Assets in Wales explains what setting is, how it contributes to the significance of a historic asset and why it is important.

Setting of Historic Assets in Wales also outlines the principles used to assess the potential impact of development or land management proposals within the settings of historic assets. These principles are applicable to all historic assets, irrespective of their designation.

This best-practice guidance is aimed at developers, owners, occupiers and agents, who should use it to inform management plans and proposals for change which may have an impact on the significance of a historic asset and its setting. It should also help them to take account of Cadw’s Conservation Principles for the Sustainable Management of the Historic Environment in Wales (Conservation Principles) to achieve high-quality sensitive change.

Decision-making authorities and their advisers should also use this guidance alongside Planning Policy Wales, Technical Advice Note 24: The Historic Environment, Conservation Principles to inform local policies and when considering individual applications for planning permission and listed building, scheduled monument and conservation area consent, including pre-application discussions.