Central Lincolnshire Local Plan Review - Proposed Submission Local Plan

Proposed Submission Local Plan

10 Built Environment

10.0. Historic Environment

10.0.1 Central Lincolnshire has a rich historic environment. The rural countryside and historic towns and villages are attractive aspects of Central Lincolnshire as a whole, while within Lincoln’s historic core are aspects of national and wider importance. The notable historic environment positively contributes to Central Lincolnshire’s character, the quality of life experienced by residents, and its appeal as a destination for visitors and tourists. Within the area there are: over 2,300 listed buildings, more than 70 conservation areas, almost 200 scheduled ancient monuments, 13 national registered parks and gardens of special historic interest, and a wealth of nationally and locally significant archaeological remains. In addition, there are numerous other heritage assets that, whilst not designated, are considered to be nationally, regionally or locally significant.

10.0.2 Central Lincolnshire’s local character is heavily influenced by Lincoln, a world class Cathedral City, which lies at its heart and, in part, by its roots in agriculture which resulted in the development of market towns. The landscape form has intrinsically influenced the area’s development, from the Wolds and the Fens, to the development of settlements along the Lincolnshire Edge (and Lincoln Cliff). Transport infrastructure, both natural and man-made also provides an important legacy. This includes transport infrastructure dating from Roman times through to the 18th and 19th century developments of the roads and railways associated with the development of industry within the more major settlements. A more recent influence on Central Lincolnshire’s character and development has been the 20th century development of the area for military operations.

10.0.3 Central Lincolnshire’s heritage assets[1] and their settings, including the significant historic building stock and archaeological resource, are irreplaceable and require careful management as the area evolves and undergoes significant growth and regeneration.

10.0.4 The opportunities to retain, enhance and improve Central Lincolnshire’s historic environment include:

  • Using the income generated from the growing local tourism economy to invest in the maintenance and upkeep of heritage assets;
  • Ensuring development schemes enhance the setting of heritage assets and do not detract from their character and the appearance of the area;
  • Supporting proposals for heritage led regeneration, ensuring that heritage assets are conserved, enhanced and their future secured.

10.0.5 Our positive strategy for the historic environment will be achieved through the implementation of Policy S57 and through:

  • strengthening the distinctive character of Central Lincolnshire's settlements, through the application of high quality design and architecture that responds to this character and the setting of heritage assets, including the historic evolution of those settlements as identified through local heritage strategies and studies;
  • safeguarding heritage assets at risk and taking steps to reduce the number of heritage assets in Central Lincolnshire: on the national Heritage at Risk Register, the Lincolnshire Heritage at Risk Register and Grade II listed buildings at risk as identified by the local planning authority;
  • the preparation and maintenance of a local list of buildings, structures and other heritage assets of local importance, including those identified in local plans, the Lincolnshire Historic Environment Record (HER) and as part of the decision-making process on planning applications;
  • encouraging the sympathetic maintenance and restoration of listed buildings, scheduled monuments (both structural and archaeological), historic shop fronts and historic parks, gardens and landscapes, based on thorough historical research and using traditional materials and techniques;
  • the preparation of conservation area appraisals and neighbourhood plans which identify non-designated heritage assets.

Scheduled Monuments

10.0.6 Scheduled Monuments are of national importance. Application for Scheduled Monument Consent (SMC) must be made to the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport before any work can be carried out which may affect a monument, either above or below ground level.

Listed Buildings and their setting

10.0.7 A proposal to demolish a listed building, or to alter or extend it in a way that would affect its special character, requires Listed Building Consent. If the proposal also involves 'development', planning permission is required and, in that case, the Local Planning Authority will wish to consider applications for Listed Building Consent and planning applications concurrently.

10.0.8 Proposals to alter or extend any Listed Building will be assessed against the need to conserve the special architectural or historic interest which led to the building being listed. There is a general presumption in favour of the conservation of Listed Buildings, and consent to demolish or partly demolish such buildings will only be granted in exceptional circumstances.

10.0.9 The setting of a Listed Building may be affected by development. It is important that applications for planning permission for development affecting Listed Buildings, or their settings, include full details of the proposal so that an informed decision can be reached.

Conservation Areas and their setting

10.0.10 The effect of a proposed development on the character or appearance of a Conservation Area is always a material consideration in the determination of planning applications. All development should conserve or enhance the special character or appearance of the designated area and its setting. It is also important that the spaces around and within the conservation area are retained, where they add to its character.

10.0.11 Development within Conservation Areas and their setting must respect the local character through careful design and consideration of scale, height, massing, alignment, and use of appropriate materials. Keeping valued historic buildings in active and viable use is important for both the maintenance of the building concerned and the overall character of the Conservation Area. Proposals to change the use of a building might therefore be supported, where features essential to the special interest of the individual building are not lost or altered to facilitate the change of use.

10.0.12 Demolition within a Conservation Area should only be allowed in exceptional circumstances, and will normally be permitted only if the Council is satisfied that the proposal for redevelopment is acceptable and there is an undertaking to implement it within a specified period.

10.0.13 Conservation Areas are reviewed from time to time to provide more detailed information about the designated area. Conservation area appraisals and management plans have been prepared for many of the Conservation Areas and may be reviewed and updated as appropriate.

Registered Historic Parks and Gardens and their setting

10.0.14 Historic parks and gardens are an important historic, cultural and environmental asset within Central Lincolnshire. This plan aims to protect them from development that would harm their character. Historic England is responsible for compiling and maintaining the 'Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England'. Registration of a site means that its significance must be taken into account when considering any proposed development that may affect the site or its setting.

Non-Designated Heritage Assets and their setting

10.0.15 Non-designated heritage assets cover a wide range of asset types, such as buildings and structures, but may also include parks, gardens, cemeteries, landscapes or known archaeological monuments or sites. They are not formally designated, but are identified locally as having a degree of significance because of their heritage, architectural or artistic interest. The Lincolnshire HER, the Local Heritage Listing campaign, conservation area appraisals and neighbourhood plans are important sources of information regarding non-designated heritage assets in Central Lincolnshire.


10.0.16 Local Planning Authorities may require developers to assess the potential impacts of their proposal on archaeological remains in order to reach a decision on a development proposal. Where archaeological impacts are indicated, developers are expected to work with the local planning authority to devise a scheme for mitigating such impacts, which may form part of a planning condition or a planning obligation. Such conditions are designed to ensure that such remains are either preserved in situ wherever possible, or recorded.

10.0.17 All archaeological work should be based on a thorough understanding of the available evidence, and of the local, regional and national contribution it makes. The known and potential archaeological heritage of the area is recorded by the Lincolnshire Historic Environment Record and, in Lincoln, by the Lincoln Heritage Database and the Lincoln Archaeological Research Assessment. These and other sources, such as Lincoln’s online heritage information management system, ARCADE, the Lincolnshire Archives, The Lincolnshire Archaeological Handbook, the Lincolnshire Historic Landscape Characterisation, Conservation Area Appraisals, Local Lists and the Lincolnshire Extensive Urban Survey should be used to inform all proposals and decisions.[2] 

1. Refer to the National Planning Policy Framework (2021) for definition of ‘heritage assets’ and ‘non-designated heritage assets’. [back]
2. Information about Heritage Assets within Central Lincolnshire is available at the websites and archives hosted by a number of organisations. The Evidence Report for Policy S57 includes web links to all of the current sources of information. [back]
Policy S57: The Historic Environment

Development proposals should protect, conserve and seek opportunities to enhance the historic environment of Central Lincolnshire.

In instances where a development proposal would affect the significance of a heritage asset (whether designated or non-designated), including any contribution made by its setting, the applicant will be required to undertake and provide the following, in a manner proportionate to the asset’s significance:

  1. describe and assess the significance of the asset, including its setting, to determine its architectural, historical or archaeological interest; and
  2. identify the impact of the proposed works on the significance and special character of the asset, including its setting; and
  3. provide a clear justification for the works, especially if these would harm the significance of the asset, including its setting, so that the harm can be weighed against public benefits.

Development proposals will be supported where they:

  1. protect the significance of heritage assets (including where relevant their setting) by protecting and enhancing architectural and historic character, historical associations, landscape and townscape features and through consideration of scale, design, architectural detailing, materials, siting, layout, mass, use, and views and vistas both from and towards the asset;
  2. promote opportunities to better reveal significance of heritage assets, where possible;
  3. take into account the desirability of sustaining and enhancing non-designated heritage assets and their setting.

Proposals to alter or to change the use of a heritage asset, or proposals that would affect the setting of a heritage asset, will be supported provided:

  1. the proposed use is compatible with the significance of the heritage asset, including its fabric, character, appearance, setting and, for listed buildings, interior; and
  2. such a change of use will demonstrably assist in the maintenance or enhancement of the heritage asset; and
  3. features essential to the special interest of the individual heritage asset are not harmed to facilitate the change of use.

Development proposals that will result in substantial harm to, or the total loss of, a designated heritage asset will only be granted permission where it is necessary to achieve substantial public benefits that outweigh the harm or loss, and the following criteria can be satisfied:


  1. the nature of the heritage asset prevents all reasonable uses of the site; and
  2. no viable use of the heritage asset itself can be found in the medium term through appropriate marketing that will enable its conservation; and
  3. conservation by grant-funding or some form of not for profit, charitable or public ownership is demonstrably not possible; and
  4. the harm or loss is outweighed by the benefit of bringing the site back into use

Where a non-designated heritage asset is affected by development proposals, there will be a presumption in favour of its retention, though regard will be had to the scale of any harm or loss and the significance of the heritage asset. Any special features which contribute to an asset’s significance should be retained and reinstated, where possible.

Listed Buildings

Permission to change the use of a Listed Building or to alter or extend such a building will be granted where the local planning authority is satisfied that the proposal is in the interest of the building’s conservation and does not involve activities or alterations prejudicial to the special architectural or historic interest of the Listed Building or its setting.

Development proposals that affect the setting of a Listed Building will, in principle, be supported where they make a positive contribution to, or better reveal the significance of the Listed Building.

Conservation Areas

Significant weight will be given to the protection and enhancement of Conservation Areas (as defined on the Policies Map).

Development within, affecting the setting of, or affecting views into or out of, a Conservation Area should conserve, or where appropriate enhance, features that contribute positively to the area’s special character, appearance and setting, including as identified in any adopted Conservation Area appraisal. Proposals should:

  1. retain buildings/groups of buildings, existing street patterns, historic building lines and ground surfaces and architectural details that contribute to the character and appearance of the area;
  2. where relevant and practical, remove features which have a negative impact on the character and appearance of the Conservation Area;
  3. retain and reinforce local distinctiveness with reference to height, massing, scale, form, materials and plot widths of the existing built environment;
  4. assess, and mitigate against, any negative impact the proposal might have on the townscape, roofscape, skyline and landscape; and
  5. aim to protect trees, or where losses are proposed, demonstrate how such losses are appropriately mitigated against.



Development affecting archaeological remains, whether known or potential, designated or undesignated, should take every practical and reasonable step to protect and, where possible, enhance their significance.

Planning applications for such development should be accompanied by an appropriate and proportionate assessment to understand the potential for and significance of remains, and the impact of development upon them.

If initial assessment does not provide sufficient information, developers will be required to undertake field evaluation in advance of determination of the application. This may include a range of techniques for both intrusive and non-intrusive evaluation, as appropriate to the site.

Wherever possible and appropriate, mitigation strategies should ensure the preservation of archaeological remains in-situ. Where this is either not possible or not desirable, provision must be made for preservation by record according to an agreed written scheme of investigation submitted by the developer and approved by the planning authority.

Any work undertaken as part of the planning process must be appropriately archived in a way agreed with the local planning authority.

10.1 Protecting Setting, Character and Views

10.1.1 The character and setting of settlements are made up of a variety of individual elements which combine together to create a distinctive place. This can include key views; street patterns; townscapes; roofscapes; how the settlement has evolved and what triggered key changes and when; design, materials, orientation and uses of buildings; and the presence of and relationship to green and blue spaces.

10.1.2 General design requirements for maintaining character can be found in Policy S53, this section deals with some key characteristics which are present in the three main urban locations – Lincoln, Gainsborough and Sleaford – and which need to be considered and addressed in development proposals in these locations.

Lincoln Area

10.1.3 Lincoln Cathedral is one of the most important medieval buildings in Europe and its prominent, visually dominating position on the edge of the Witham Gap along the Lincoln Cliff makes it one of the country’s finest sights. Lincoln’s natural and historic environment and the relationship between the City and surrounding villages is a key element to the visitor economy and the Cathedral towering over the city is an important symbol for the area.

10.1.4 Lincoln’s special character arises in large part from its unique setting, with important views in and out of the City, principally to and from the Lincoln Ridge, which supports spectacular views of the cathedral, castle and uphill Lincoln. This character has evolved in part from the alignment of roman roads, location and nature of common land and physical restrictions of flood risk and ground conditions. Potential impacts can include views being blocked by development, poor design and insensitive positioning. Views across and along open spaces are closely linked to the Green Wedges around the City and will be an important consideration particularly for development around the edge of Lincoln where there is currently a clear separation between the City and its satellite villages which retain their character as individual settlements. Green Wedges have been retained within this Local Plan as a key planning tool for shaping the growth and expansion of Lincoln and its relationship to the surrounding countryside and villages.

10.1.5 Green Wedges are one part of a wider network of multi-functional open spaces or Green Infrastructure which serve the Lincoln area, as identified by the Central Lincolnshire Green Infrastructure Study 2011. Substantial linear open spaces are protected, safeguarding views of the Lincoln Edge and the historic City, providing land for formal and casual recreation as well as maintaining linkages between sites of known nature conservation interest through a network of Strategic Green Corridors, Strategic Green Access Links, Lincoln Urban Green Grid and Local Green Links.

10.1.6 The Brayford Pool and the waterways around Lincoln have been an important feature of the City for centuries. In recent years the Brayford Pool has grown in importance as the focus for boating and boating activities, with direct waterway connections to the River Trent to the west and to the sea at Boston. The Brayford Pool and the banks of Lincoln's waterways have also recently provided the focus for cultural, leisure and educational development. The revival of the area is to be welcomed, but unchecked over-development spilling out from the banks into the Pool and waterways is in danger of causing them to lose their essential open character. It is therefore proposed to protect the openness of the Pool and waterways as valuable public, ecological and townscape assets for the City.

10.1.7 The strategy for Lincoln recognises that a high quality public environment can have a significant impact on the economic life of urban centres and is an essential part of any regeneration strategy, such as improvements to former churchyards and new and existing squares.

10.1.8 Lincoln and its surrounding area has a particularly rich and diverse natural and built environment including a varied landscape at the meeting point of five National Character Areas; a rich and varied biodiversity reflecting the range of geological and ecological conditions that form one of Central Lincolnshire’s biodiversity ‘hotspots’; a rich townscape with a large number of listed buildings and conservation areas and archaeology of international significance. It is crucial that this heritage is conserved as part of the growth of Lincoln and that development helps to protect and enhance these environmental assets. The Lincoln Townscape Assessment (now incorporated into the City of Lincoln’s online heritage management system – ARCADE) describes the local context for defining distinctiveness and as a means of assessing the impact of proposals on Lincoln’s setting and character.

Gainsborough Area

10.1.9 Gainsborough is located on the eastern banks of the River Trent, extending its urban area eastwards into an undulating and often wooded landscape. Gainsborough’s historic core is protected by three conservation areas, namely the Britannia Works Conservation Area, Riverside Conservation Area and Gainsborough Town Conservation Area.

10.1.10 Gainsborough benefits from a number of buildings of architectural and historical merit. Historic street patterns and passageways can still be identified within the traditional town centre area, connecting the existing town to its vibrant past. Parts of the riverside, from Chapel Staithe to the Old Hall have unique significance to the town’s medieval heritage, with mill and warehouse buildings a reminder of Gainsborough’s later role as an important inland trading port. Integrating these assets into regeneration proposals is vital to ensure that the town’s rich history is conserved and enhanced, and forms a prominent part of the development proposals that will cement Gainsborough’s future.

10.1.11 The town centre also has a number of special assets and visitor attractions, including the Gainsborough Old Hall, the Trinity Arts Centre, The Old Nick Theatre, Gainsborough Model Railway as well as various art and music venues. These assets lie within the four key areas that make up the town centre: Market Place; Marshall’s Yard; Church Street; and Trinity Street. However, these places and assets, as well as the major asset of the River Trent, are poorly connected and their settings are undervalued.

10.1.12 The growth of Gainsborough over the next 20 years will bring opportunities to improve the quality of the townscape by revitalising the urban fabric, reducing the number of heritage assets on the Lincolnshire Heritage at Risk Register and making the best use of key landmarks, social and heritage assets. At the same time, there will be a need to protect the town's wider setting in the landscape.

Sleaford Area         

10.1.13 Sleaford’s historic centre and land alongside the River Slea are covered by a Conservation Area. The town centre has a number of heritage and townscape assets and visitor attractions, particularly on Northgate and in and around the Market Place, which help to create a sense of place and a special identity. However in some cases, these are hidden and difficult to access, including the River Slea, Money’s Mill, Castle Field and The Hub (The National Centre for Craft and Design). In others, their settings are undervalued. The growth of Sleaford over the next 20 years will bring opportunities to improve the quality of the townscape by revitalising the urban fabric including through funding interventions through the Heritage Grant Scheme and the Sleaford Partnership Scheme in Conservation Areas, reducing the number of heritage assets on the Lincolnshire Heritage at Risk Register and making the best use of key landmarks, social and heritage assets.

10.1.14 The Sleaford Masterplan identified that there was a need to focus on public realm improvements within Sleaford to create better links for pedestrians and improved settings for key attractions and heritage assets. The Masterplan concluded that the main areas that could benefit from improved public realm are: Southgate, Eastgate, Boston Road, Carre Street, Bristol Arcade, Nags Head Passage and the link to the National Centre for Craft and Design.

10.1.15 There are a number of key local views of Sleaford, both within and outside of the town, that have been identified in the Sleaford Masterplan and adopted Sleaford Conservation Appraisal. Perhaps one of the most dominant views in the Sleaford area is of the Bass Maltings complex just off Mareham Lane, which includes the largest group of malt houses in England. The site is listed as Grade II* on Historic England’s National Heritage List for England and Heritage at Risk Register. Any development should not detrimentally affect important local views.

10.1.16 The Central Lincolnshire Green Infrastructure Study identifies a deficiency in natural green space sites in the Sleaford area, particularly to the east and west of the town. The Sleaford Masterplan proposes an East West Leisure Link running east to west along the River Slea through the town centre and connecting the urban area to the countryside and surrounding villages. This provides a range of opportunities to improve the Green Infrastructure network, leisure and tourism offer, including improved pedestrian and cycle movement and access, and habitat creation. Lincolnshire Rivers Trust have produced an Urban Opportunities Study of the water environment in Sleaford. The study identifies opportunities to enhance the habitat along the River Slea and its tributaries in and around Sleaford.

Policy S58: Protecting Lincoln, Gainsborough and Sleaford’s Setting and Character

All development proposals should contribute to the realisation of the following key principles:


  1. Protect the dominance and approach views of Lincoln Cathedral, Lincoln Castle and uphill Lincoln on the skyline;
  2. Protect Lincoln’s distinct built heritage and townscape character as set out in the Lincoln Townscape Character Assessment;
  3. Respect Lincoln’s unique character and setting and relationship with surrounding villages by maintaining and enhancing a strategic green infrastructure network around and into the City, including Green Wedges (see Policy S63) to protect the City’s green character and to maintain the setting and integrity of surrounding villages;
  4. Proposals within, adjoining or affecting the setting of the 11 Conservation Areas and 3 historic parks and gardens within the built up area of Lincoln, should preserve and enhance their special character, setting, appearance and respect their special historic and architectural context;
  5. Support the development of art, cultural and leisure assets and facilities, such as the Collection, the Theatre Royal, the Engine Shed, Arboretum and Whisby Nature Park, and improve access to such assets and facilities; and
  6. Do not detract from the open character of Lincoln’s Brayford Pool and waterways, protecting and enhancing them as a major focal points in and through the City.


  1. Take into account the Gainsborough Town Centre Conservation Area Appraisal and Gainsborough Town Centre Heritage Masterplan;
  2. Protect and enhance the landscape character and setting of Gainsborough and the surrounding villages by ensuring key gateways are landscaped to enhance the setting of the town, minimise impact upon the open character of the countryside and to maintain the setting and integrity of surrounding villages.


  1. Take into account the Sleaford Masterplan, Sleaford Town Centre Conservation Area Appraisal, Sleaford Town Centre Regeneration SPD and any subsequent guidance;
  2. Protect, conserve and, where appropriate, enhance the Castle Site, Market Place, the Bass Maltings, Money’s Mill and Yard, Handley Monument and Northgate, through sensitive development and environmental improvement;
  3. Protect important local views of Sleaford, including the Bass Maltings complex and its setting, from both within and outside the town;
  4. Support the development of art, cultural and leisure assets and facilities within or close to the town centre, and improve access to such assets and facilities, such as The Hub (the National Centre for Craft and Design);
  5. Protect and enhance the River Slea Navigation Corridor as a major focal point for the town, optimising its use and value for recreation, tourism and biodiversity, and taking into account the opportunities identified in the Sleaford Urban Opportunities Study;
  6. Support the development of the Sleaford East West Leisure Link as the key component of the Sleaford Urban Green Grid in accordance with the Sleaford Masterplan and Central Lincolnshire Green Infrastructure Study and take opportunities to deliver improvements to the wider Green Infrastructure network.