Principles of conservation
It identifies six ‘high-level’ principles of conservation:
This principle proposes that the historic environment is valued by people as part of their shared cultural and natural heritage. The value of this heritage represents the public interest in places, regardless of ownership. In safeguarding the historic environment, and thereby protecting public interest, the use of law, policy and public investment is justified.
 Participation in sustaining the historic environment
Different generations and communities will perceive heritage’s values in different ways, and awareness and understanding of this should be raised through learning. Specialist knowledge and skills should be developed, maintained and passed on as a means of sustaining the historic environment.
A place can be considered as such if it is a fixed part of the historic environment with a distinctive identity that is perceived by people. The significance of a place in terms of values tends to grow in strength and complexity over time, as understanding and perceptions evolve.
Decisions about a place’s future can only be informed by understanding and articulating its values and significance. Any protection, such as statutory designation, is determined by the degree of significance.
 Management of significant places is necessary to sustain their values
If understanding of the past is increased, or particular heritage values are revealed or reinforced, then intervention may be justified. It is important though that any resulting harm is decisively outweighed by the benefits.
 Change decisions should be reasonable, consistent and transparent
The exercise of statutory controls should be governed by proportionality. The least harmful means of accommodating conflicting interests should be sought. Where conflict is unavoidable, the weight given to heritage values in making the decision should be proportionate to the place’s significance and the impact of the proposed change on that significance.
It is crucial that records of decision justifications and actions are accessible for analysis and reference. The effects of, and responses to, change should be regularly evaluated by managers of significant places, with the results used to inform future decisions.
Where any loss is the direct result of intervention, the costs of the work should be borne by those who benefit from the change, or, if it is in the public interest, whose role it is to initiate such change.
Historic England suggests that at the core of these principles lies the idea of ‘significance’. This is the collective term for all the heritage values attached to a place, i.e. the sum total. There are four different categories to describe how people value historic places:
- Evidential value: The potential of a place to provide evidence about historic activity.
- Historical value: An illustrative or associative way in which historic people, events and aspects of life can be connected to the present through a place.
- Aesthetic value: The sensory and intellectual stimulation drawn by people from a place.
- Communal value: The meanings and associations of a place for the people who relate to it.
 Find out more
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Civic Amenities Act.
- Conservation areas.
- Conservation as action and reaction.
- Conservation of the historic environment.
- Historic England.
- Historic environment.
- IHBC articles.
- Listed buildings.
- The history of conservation areas.
- The Institute of Historic Building Conservation.
 External resources
Over 500 historic places have been added to the National Heritage List for England (NHLE) in 2019 and Historic England (HE) has showcased 21 highlights.
The K2 prototype telephone box situated outside the Royal Academy in London – built as part of the 1924 competition that gave rise to the iconic design and first listed at Grade II in 1986 – has had its listing upgraded to Grade II*.
The second in a series focusses on developing the Asset Information Model (AIM).
Reflecting issues that will be encountered across the IHBC’s June 2020 Brighton School, think tank Centre for Cities argues for High Street success.
City A.M took a tour of the first apartment to be completed within the original grade II*-listed power station with designer Tim Boyd of Michaelis Boyd – which also designed the interiors for Soho House and the Groucho Club – and Battersea Power Station’s UK sales director Georgia Siri.
A conversion of a locomotive hangar into a public library is the first retrofit to win the top prize at the World Architecture Festival (WAF).
New guidance and research includes: Lightning Protection, Church Roof Replacement using Terne-coated SS, the conservation of Fibrous Plaster, and more.
The non-affiliated group aims to galvanise climate action in the heritage sector.
A ‘Methodology for Moisture Investigations in Traditional Buildings ‘ has been agreed between RICS, Historic England and the service provider PCA, a trade body, which should help raise professional standards and consumer confidence.
The Templar Hotel on Vicar Lane has been listed at Grade II by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on the advice of Historic England.
Government has announced a new Champion for Modern Methods of Construction as part of the government’s drive to make the UK the global leader in housing standards.
Planning is about so much more than the number of applications approved and the speed of processing them so the RTPI is commissioning research aimed at producing a toolkit that can demonstrate a wider range of outcomes.