What is Local Listing?
The Black Country is rich in history and heritage. Sites which are recognised as nationally important are included on the National Heritage List for England for example, Dudley Castle, Galton Bridge, the war memorial in Victoria Road, Darlaston and St Peter’s Church, Wolverhampton. These ‘designated’ sites have a high degree of protection through the planning system and permission is usually required to change them.
But Local Heritage Lists record the locally or regionally important heritage places and sites which help make an area special and enrich our understanding of the past.
They help celebrate the historic character and distinctiveness of an area, by identifying sites which contribute to it in a consistent way;
They give local people the chance to help decide what should be recognised as ‘special’ in their area, and what should be protected for future generations.
They can include a wide range of sites – from historic buildings, structures, archaeological sites, parks and gardens to geology and public artwork.
In the Black Country, there are over 1,000 sites already on the adopted Local Heritage Lists, including sites such as a former billiard hall in West Bromwich, the South Staffordshire tramway generating station in Walsall, and an 18th century cottage on Cott Lane, Stourbridge.
But its important to keep the List up to date and to add new buildings, sites and features that have been recognised for their significance to the local area.
Billiard Hall, West Bromwich © 2021 Google
South Staffordshire tramway generation station, Walsall © 2021 Google
18th century cottage, Cott Lane, Stourbridge © 2021 Google
Why does Local Listing matter?
As well as maintaining Historic Environment Records the Black Country Local Planning Authorities use Local Heritage Lists to help plan and make better decisions about our heritage.
Through planning applications, sites on the Local Heritage List need to have their historical significance taken into account before changes to them or their setting can be agreed.
The way in which they are conserved and protected is also covered by specific Historic Environment Policies in local development plans, including the developing Black Country Plan.
As Local Heritage Lists play an important role in the planning process, they have to be underpinned by robust criteria to assess which sites should be added to them.
This project is using an agreed set of draft criteria to assess all nominations received from anywhere in the Black Country to see if they should be recommended for inclusion in the relevant Local Heritage Lists. The draft criteria will be adopted by the Black Country Local Authorities as part of the project.
Adopting the List
As well as being able to nominate sites, communities will have a say on any additions or amendments to the Black Country Local Heritage List before it is finalised.
Our recommendations will be shared with the local authorities who will then consult with the public to decide what should be added.
That means that you will get the opportunity to comment on any proposed additions before the updated Local Heritage Lists are adopted.
There is more information about Local Heritage Listing, including the criteria and how it fits into the National Planning Policy Framework, in our illustrated guide to the Black Country Local Heritage Lists.