Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Lower Otter Valley Local Heritage Assets Listing Project

From the Otter Valley Association has come an important announcement about a venture in which Fairlynch Museum has a role:

The OVA is embarking on an exciting new project, looking at our rich and diverse local heritage, and is seeking partners and volunteers to help with this work. 

The project was launched during Heritage Open Days (11 to 14 September 2014). Watch out for further details about  local events that we will be holding, and visit the Heritage Open Days website if you are interested in local heritage events.

We are working in partnership with Devon’s Historic Environment Team, East Devon District Council, the Fairlynch Museum and the Town and Parish Councils to identify and list heritage assets in the Lower Otter Valley.  This area covers Budleigh Salterton, and the parishes of East Budleigh, Otterton, Colaton Raleigh and Newton Poppleford.

The reason for listing heritage assets is because they are buildings, monuments, sites, places, areas or landscape identified as having a degree of significance meriting consideration in planning decisions because of their heritage interest. English Heritage is keen for local communities to identify assets that are important to the local distinctiveness of an area.   The Draft New East Devon Local Plan states that the Council will work with local communities to produce design statements and heritage asset assessments as part of the ongoing preparation for the built heritage and heritage conservation strategy. 

Heritage assets are not just historic or interesting buildings, but can be cultural landscapes associated with history, or relate to social history, such as traditions, practices, and artistic or literary associations.  They can include patterns of settlement, parks, gardens, village greens, and landmarks of community value, such as war memorials and interesting items of street furniture.

For instance, do you value the building in the photograph?  Should this be on the local heritage asset list?  We are sure that you have an opinion about this structure and we want you to nominate structures or features that you think are important locally.

The project aims to identify and assess structures and elements that are not designated nationally (listed buildings), such as the wealth of agricultural buildings, and the Arts and Crafts houses, together with well loved places.  The work may involve some research, as we would like to gather as much information about the asset as possible, or it could just involve a description,  photograph and location.  The assets will be assessed before going on the ‘local list’, which will then be used as a material consideration in planning decisions by the District Council.  Local listing does not place any extra planning burden on the owner of the asset.

The criteria for assessing the significance of local heritage assets is based on English Heritage’s advice in the Good Practice Guide for Local Heritage Asset Listing and is set out below:

It is based on English Heritage’s guidance on the criteria for the designation of statutorily listed buildings, but the focus is on their local rather than national importance.   The criteria relate to the local interest and significance.  Interest being the architecture, historic, artistic, rarity or age; and significance being the value of the asset aesthetically, to the community, or historic or social association or evidential.  If the heritage asset is identified as having at least one element of interest, then the determining factor would be to consider its significance in relation to its value to the community.

The OVA is looking for volunteers to help with this project, and training will be given. So if you value your heritage, enjoy carrying out a bit of research, or taking photographs, or just walking around the local area, we would love you to help us.  We will also be seeking to involve the community as much as possible, and invite them to nominate local heritage assets that are important to them.

We have placed details of the project on the various local websites, and are liaising with the parish councils so that we can get as many volunteers and nominations as possible.

Further details about this exciting project have been put on the OVA website at 

If you would like to find out more about the project and how you could get involved, please contact Nicola Daniels (01395 445960), Trevor Waddington (01395 443978) or Dee Woods (01395 568158).

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