IHBC’s new Note on ‘Townscape’: Addressing knowledge gaps in heritage policy development 

Toolbox Guidance Notes iconThe IHBC has launched a new Guidance Note (GN2017/4) onTownscape as an important concept in conservation area management’, to explain the importance the Institute places on townscape as a specific concept in the proper management of conservation areas, and address current gaps in national policy development in England.

Bob Kindred, IHBC Research co-ordinator and author of this Guidance Note, said: ‘The surprising omission of the term ‘townscape’ from England’s National Planning Policy Framework Section 12, ‘Conserving and enhancing the historic environment’, makes it, in the Institute’s view, all the more important that the concept should appear explicitly in best practice heritage advice, not least as the term ‘Townscape’ appears elsewhere in Section 7 of the NPPF, where it deals with good design.’

IHBC Policy Chair Roy Lewis said: ‘This particular Note is the IHBC’s response to the urgent need for heritage policy advisers to recognise the concept of ‘townscape’, which is a key consideration in understanding the character of historic places.  The understanding of ‘townscape’ in England’s heritage policy, from the former PPG15, has not been maintained in current policy and guidance, and the Institute is concerned that insufficient consideration is being given to this key conservation concept.’

‘The IHBC Guidance Note explains that the clearly espoused concepts of townscape, evolved over many years, should be at the forefront of day-to-day understanding, practice and the formation of policy and advice regarding the management of conservation areas.  It is particularly appropriate to remind practitioners of the importance of townscape in the year that marks the 50th anniversary of conservation area designation.’

IHBC Director Seán O’Reilly said: ‘IHBC Guidance Notes are produced as part of an integrated resource offering online support for conservation practitioners, the IHBC’s ‘Toolbox’.’

‘Our Toolbox has been developed to help inform, advise and guide anyone with specialist interests in built and historic environment conservation.  Already it offers a wide range of basic resources – the ‘tools’ in the toolbox – from primary research and guidance produced by or on behalf of the IHBC, to technical, academic and practice advice supported or endorsed by the institute.’

‘With this ToolBox Guidance Note on ‘Townscape’ addressing known knowledge gaps in developing policy, we see our ToolBox fulfilling exactly the role for it was designed’.

For an indicative selection of references to Townscape in heritage related contexts see the IHBC NewsBlogs

Read the Guidance Note at

See more Guidance Notes in the Toolbox

See all the ToolBox resources

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