The historic environment is the context within which new development happens. An early understanding of the character and value of the historic environment prevents conflict and maximises the contribution historic assets can make to future economic growth and community well-being.
Conservation-led regeneration encourages private-sector investment both by retaining businesses in an area and by providing an incentive to relocate to it. Understanding how places change, what makes them distinctive and the significance of their history is the key to regeneration. The historic environment is part of successful regeneration because it contributes to:
- Investment: Historic places attract companies to locate, people to live, businesses to invest and tourists to visit. Market values in historic areas are higher than elsewhere.
- Sense of place: People enjoy living in historic places. There is often greater community cohesion.
- Sustainability: Re-use of historic buildings minimises the exploitation of resources. There is evidence of lower maintenance costs for older houses.
- Quality of life: The historic environment contributes to quality of life and enriches people's understanding of the diversity and changing nature of their community.
Acting at the interface of the statutory planning process, conservation and heritage management can help to support and ensure that local plans and strategies properly capture the contribution that the local historic environment can make to the success of an area.
Heritage can have a profound effect on how people view the place in which they work and live. It can:
- act as a cornerstone for regeneration projects;
- underpin local employment and attract investment;
- provide distinctive and vibrant retail environments;
- create greater community cohesion and social inclusion; and
- offer a local educational resource.
In short, a well-cared for and managed historic environment improves everybodys quality of life.