Summary: Theme 2a: A Beautiful and Historic City – Heritage

The City of Durham is one of the most important historic cities in Britain. Its unique townscape forms the immediate setting for the Cathedral and Castle World Heritage Site recognised by UNESCO as being of ‘such exceptional cultural significance as to transcend national boundaries and to be of common importance for present and future generations of all humanity’. The challenge is to plan for accommodating modern needs while respecting history and heritage. The policies are designed to protect and enhance the many buildings, the medieval pattern of streets, vennels, and green spaces for its residents, businesses, workers, shoppers and visitors both now and for the future.

Policy H1: Protection of the World Heritage Site

Planning policy and processes will protect The Durham Cathedral and Castle World Heritage Site from inappropriate development both within the existing boundary and the proposed extension into the surrounding banks of the River Wear, and its landscape setting. Any proposed developments must safeguard views to and from The World Heritage Site and preferably enhance its value.

Full policy here.

Policy H2: The Conservation Areas

Development proposals within the Durham City Conservation Area and the Burn Hall Conservation Area will only be permitted if they retain existing continuous frontage; are of high design quality and respect the architectural qualities of the buildings and the historic streetscape; have sensitive scale, density, massing, height and detailing; and avoid loss of all or parts of buildings of character.

Full policy here.

Policy H3: The Character Areas

The Durham City Conservation area is divided into five character areas comprising the Peninsula, and the four historical boroughs of Framwellgate, Crossgate, Elvet and Gilesgate. Each has a unique identity. Development proposals will be required to use materials that reflect that character; restore architectural features; incorporate uses appropriate to both building and area character; retain and improve distinctive shop fronts and signage; and demonstrate understanding of the character area and its needs.

Full policy here.

Policy H4: Our Neighbourhood outside the Conservation Areas

Areas outside the Conservation Areas have their own character and this policy is to ensure that developers demonstrate awareness of the need to protect and enhance the setting, and to employ high quality and sympathetic design.

Full policy here.

Policy H5: Listed Buildings, Scheduled Ancient Monuments, Registered Parks and Gardens, and Registered Battlefields

These diverse heritage assets are crucial in giving a sense of identity and are an essential part of the collective memory of the community. They are the core of the City’s enduring appeal and will be safeguarded from inappropriate development or demolition. Proposals which conform to the sustainability policies will be supported only if they preserve and conserve these assets.

Full policy here.

Policy H6: Non-designated Heritage Assets.

Buildings, monuments, sites, or landscapes of local significance which are not formally designated heritage assets in this Plan will be safeguarded from inappropriate development and from demolition. Development proposals will be supported if they preserve and bring back into use such assets.

Full policy here.

Next section: Summary. Theme 2b: A Beautiful and Historic City – Green Infrastructure

3 Responses to Summary: Theme 2a: A Beautiful and Historic City – Heritage

  1. James A Cowan says:

    Again, no one can fault these aspirations. Durham City has its own brand of heritage which dates back to rhe peeiod before the Norman Conquest to the early days of Christianity. These many facets of the ‘City must be protected and shared with it permanent residents and rhr many visitors. At tne same time, communicstion must be improved and we should not rely too heavily on volunteers, the ‘Pointers’ in the absence of a central, easily identified tourist,office which could, if required, be manned by volunteers

  2. Jean Rogers says:

    Durham’s historic heritage is twofold, and while the importance of the medieval centre is immense, it would be a pity to be dazzled by it to the point of overlooking the counterbalancing theme of Durham’s industrial heritage.

    I agree with the Plan’s emphasis on protecting the areas identified, and the individual assets, listed and otherwise, but regret that consideration of the North Road seems to have been exclusively with respect to its retail offering.

    The North Road is for many visitors, particularly those using public transport the point of entry to the city. It contains many interesting and historic buildings: most obvious is the visual sequence running from the former cinema and adjacent Miners’ Hall, past the Bethel chapel to the backdrop of the viaduct. Others are less prominent, but the Wetherspoons restoration of the former Water Board offices is attractive, and Reform Place, almost concealed, adds interest. Nothing here is incompatible with sympathetic, small scale retail, but development of the Miners’ Hall as some form of visitor reception or other service point would make good use of its position.

    It goes without saying that proposals to move the bus station and destroy the North Road in pursuit of some phantom benefit are without merit.

  3. Ruth Rutter says:

    I agree with this policy. It is important that the city outside the World Heritage Site is treated with equal consideration.