Why is the Historic Environment Important to Communities?
The historic environment can have a positive influence on a wide range of local activities including community engagement, economic development, regeneration, housing and education:
- It lies at the heart of creating sustainable communities.
- The historic environment adds value to regeneration projects and historic buildings can often be used for modern day purposes.
- It is a proven source of employment and helps underpin the local economy.
- An attractive environment can assist in attracting external investment as well as maintaining existing businesses of all types, not just tourism-related.
- Heritage is a fundamental element that contributes towards local character and distinctiveness.
- The historic environment is a powerful focus for community action and people are immensely proud of their local history.
- A renewed focus on the historic environment can help to achieve increased community cohesion and greater social inclusion. Involving communities in their local heritage can help bring them together through a shared understanding of their diverse histories.
- It is a local educational resource for people of all ages. Archaeological remains can be used to explain the history of a place and the communities that have lived there.
- The historic environment can underpin local cultural activities.
Local environments that are understood and valued by the community tend to be better looked after and can help foster civic responsibility and citizenship. This can have positive implications in helping to address anti-social behaviour and enhancing community well-being. The historic environment contributes to everybody’s quality of life.
The following pages in this section give help and advice to both local communities and local authorities on the important role of the historic environment in improving their area. These focus, in particular, on the role of Neighbourhood Plans, Neighbourhood Development orders and Community Right to Build Orders. They also consider the role of English Heritage in this process.