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Local Areas of Special Character (LASC)

Why we need Local Areas of Special Character

National Planning Policy tells us that we should set out a positive strategy for the conservation and enjoyment of historic environment. We should also recognise that heritage assets cannot be replaced once lost so we need to protect and conserve them.

Many of the areas we now set aside as Local Areas of Special Character were developed when:

  • the population was smaller and land was more available
  • it was fashionable to build large houses within large grounds 

But increasing populations and demand for housing puts these areas under threat. National Government policy also asks us to make more efficient use of previously developed land in our built-up areas, rather than build on Greenfield sites. 

Certain types of development can affect the borough in different ways. For example, infill development (eg building on spare bits of land between houses) and redevelopment (eg building flats on a site that held one large house) can:

  • result in a loss of character and heritage 
  • disrupt the established pattern of development 
  • result in a loss of mature trees, hedges and other greenery when they are dug up to provide space for new houses, driveways, garages etc

Although we recognise development and growth is needed in the borough we want to guide this development to ensure the qualities of our Areas of Special Character are protected. We want to protect our unique heritage.

How we choose Local Areas of Special Character

We'll consider whether an area should be a Local Area of Special Character (LASC) if it fullfills the following criteria:

a. The area must be of heritage significance; and

b. must meet one or more of the following three criteria:

i. The architecture in the area must be of a high quality, distinctive and well preserved and may reflect the collective value of groups of historic buildings with consistent architectural form, style, features, detailing or materials; the area may include groups of high quality, distinctive and well preserved architectures built as an ensemble over a short period of time.

ii. The townscape of the area must be of a high quality, distinctive and well preserved. The historic townscape and/or the urban form of the area may have organically developed over the centuries or may have been planned by design in one or more stages.

iii. The landscape of the area must be of a high quality, distinctive and well preserved. The composition, the natural and/or built features of the historic landscape may have organically developed over the centuries or may have been planned by design in one or more stages.

Find out more

The criteria for Local Areas of Special Character was revised at the Growth Commitee on 27 March 2018. 

Last Modified: 18/10/2020 13:07:51