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.
 ‘Significance’ and ‘historic values’
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
Expert retail industry panel, the Town Centres Expert Panel, calla for a community-focused approach to tackling the challenges facing high streets and town centres.
Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy Committee inquiry into Government’s approach to delivering energy efficiency improvements to buildings – submissions deadline 17/1.
Following consultation, updated policy directions have been issued to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) in its role as a distributing body of National Lottery funds.
European Standards Organizations have approved a plan to secure BSI’s membership post-Brexit.
The Chartered Institute of Building’s parliamentary reception on 12 Dec launched its report ‘Improving Quality in the Built Environment’.
RIBA, Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH), Local Government Association (LGA) and RTPI’s ‘Future Place’ will recognise, reward and encourage high quality placemaking.
3 young architecture graduates have won the SPAB’s, Philip Webb Award, for schemes proving that with imagination and sensitivity you don’t need to demolish historic buildings.
Civic Voice has highlighted how ‘hundreds of conservation areas mark their 50th anniversary’ in 2019, as it continues its Big Conservation Conversation.
A new strategic framework for heritage science in the UK has been launched.
The 2019 Planning Awards have been launched, with categories including an award for ‘best use of heritage in placemaking’ among 25 linked categories.