John’s Question on Developments Near Historical Sites

John Finnie (Highlands and Islands) (Independent): To ask the Scottish Government  what guidance it issues to local authorities regarding developments near sites of historic interest.(S4W-19264)

Ms Fiona Hyslop MSP:

Historic Scotland, as the Scottish Government’s heritage agency, takes the lead role in providing advice and guidance to planning authorities, developers and others on the potential impacts of development on the historic environment. In offering advice, Historic Scotland recognises that the historic environment is a fragile and irreplaceable resource, but also a dynamic one.

There are three specific areas of the planning system in which Historic Scotland is involved:

1.         Development planning

Historic Scotland works with planning authorities during the preparation of local development plans to ensure that the historic environment is considered in a positive way. Historic Scotland also works with planning authorities on development plan delivery initiatives, such as the preparation of supplementary guidance, masterplans and development briefs.

2.         Development management

Historic Scotland is a statutory consultee for planning applications for works affecting A-listed buildings and scheduled monuments and their settings as well as Inventory battlefields or Inventory garden and designed landscapes. Where an application is accompanied by an Environmental Impact Assessment, Historic Scotland is also consulted.

In providing views on planning applications Historic Scotland considers various issues, including how the development might affect the appreciation of the site in its wider context. In doing so, Historic Scotland seeks to help decision makers establish a clear understanding of heritage assets so that any impacts can be sensitively managed. Historic Scotland also welcomes early engagement so potential impacts can be identified and addressed at an early stage.

3.         Guidance

Historic Scotland also publishes a series of Managing Change Guidance Notes which are intended to be used by planning authorities and other interested parties in the development management process. These guidance notes seek to explain how to apply the policies contained in the Scottish Historic Environment Policy and The Scottish Planning Policy. These can be accessed here – There is a guidance note on setting.

Historic Scotland, together with Architecture and Place and Architecture and Design Scotland, has also produced the volume “New Design in Historic Settings”. This aims to set out the means by which we can raise the standard of new design in historic settings and the advice is aimed at designers, developers, local authorities, community groups and other important stakeholders. It can be accessed here –

Encompassing the natural and built environment more widely, “Creating Places” is the Scottish Government’s policy statement on architecture and place. Its website is an important element of the policy and it is designed to be a resource for everyone with an interest in the built and natural environment, and includes guidance on Culture and Heritage. It can be accessed here –