Woking Borough Council

CS20 Heritage and conservation

The Borough has a diverse and unique heritage including historic buildings and places ranging from Woking Palace and Sutton Place to the Shah Jahan Mosque and Brookwood Cemetery. There are 180 Listed Buildings in the Borough including four that are Grade 1 Listed plus 25 Conservation Areas.

There is a wide diversity in the built character of Woking Borough from rural villages to an urbanised Woking Town Centre and suburban residential areas. It is expected that new development will take account of this. A Character Study has been carried out to provide a detailed description of the various areas.

Those aspects of Woking that define its heritage will be conserved for their worth and the benefits that they have in enriching the well-being of the local people and those who visit the area.

CS20: Heritage and conservation

New development must respect and enhance the character and appearance of the area in which it is proposed whilst making the best possible use of the land available. New development should positively contribute to the character, distinctiveness and significance of the historic environment.

Conservation Areas and area of historic or architectural importance will be protected and, where appropriate, enhanced in accordance with the relevant legislation and national guidance. Conservation Areas and Areas of High Archaeological Potential are shown on the Proposals Map.

There will be a presumption against any development that will be harmful to a listed building. Alterations and extensions to Listed buildings must respect the host building in terms of scale, design, use of materials, retention of the structure and any features of special historic or architectural importance. Planning applications will be refused for any alteration or extension to a Listed building that will not preserve the building or its setting. A Listed building consent will be required for any development that will affect a Listed building.

On all development sites over 0.4 hectares an archaeological evaluation and investigation will be necessary if, in the opinion of the County Archaeologist, an archaeological assessment demonstrates that the site has archaeological potential.

Within Areas of High Archaeological Potential (as illustrated on the Proposals Map), development will not be permitted unless the following are satisfied:

  • Submission of an archaeological assessment of the site.
  • Where archaeological importance of the site has been identified, a programme setting out a full archaeological survey of the site has been submitted and agreed with the Council.

Reasoned Justification

Woking Borough comprises a variety of character areas. The Council has undertaken a Character Study which provides a useful description and information about these areas. The Heritage of Woking document will also be useful to applicants. It is expected that new development will take account of the character within which it is situated.

Conservation Areas are designated for their special architectural or historic interest. There are 25 Conservation Areas in Woking. The Council will continue to periodically appraise its Conservation Areas to assess changes which might have occurred over the years. This will inform a potential review of their boundaries or the creation of new areas. Development that adversely affects the Conservation Area and/or its setting, which cannot be mitigated, will be resisted. Development will be required to demonstrate that it will preserve and/or enhance the special features of the Conservation Areas.

To ensure sufficient information is available to make a proper assessment of any development that has the potential to threaten the heritage, culture and character of the area, planning applications will be required to include detailed drawings including details of materials and the relationship to adjoining properties.

The Council will resist the loss of Listed Buildings, and will use advice, negotiation and refusal of consent to ensure features of architectural and historic interest are preserved and the setting of Listed Buildings is safeguarded.

Locally Listed Buildings are not statutory listed, but are of local architectural or historic interest. They contribute to the character of the area as often they are local landmarks of historic merit or have architectural features of local significance. Approximately 330 buildings are Locally Listed in Woking Borough. They form an important part of the heritage of the area and will be preserved and enhanced.

It is considered that planning guidance such as Planning Policy Statement 5 Planning for the Historic Environment (which is supported by practice guidance) provides sufficient protection of the historic environment and archaeology at the strategic level including Listed Buildings, Conservation Areas and historic parks and gardens. It is therefore not intended to repeat the requirements of PPS5, however specific attention is drawn to the criteria in the Practice Guide which applicants must abide by when submitting an application relating to a heritage asset.

Delivery strategy

This policy will be delivered through the Development Management process. The Borough-wide Character Study provides the evidence base and will assist applicants in identifying key characteristics.

Monitoring and review

  • Number of imposed planning conditions that require mitigation or recording.
  • Trends shown by condition surveys of Local Authority owned assets.
  • Number of Grade 1 and 2* Listed Buildings at risk.
  • Changes in the appearance and `health' of the historic environment.

Key evidence base

  • Character Study, 2010, produced by the Landscape Partnership.
  • The Heritage of Woking - An Historic Conservation Compendium, 2000, produced by Woking Borough Council.
  • Planning Policy Statement 5, 2010, Planning for the Historic Environment and accompanying practice guidance, produced by Department of Communities and Local Government.