Using the WHS Development Impact Checklist to inform your development

Hopefully through reading the previous pages you now have an understanding of Attributes of OUV and the setting of the WHS, and how Attributes appear both within the landscape and as depicted on historic maps.

The final Section C, below, describes how you can use your understanding of Attributes of OUV and setting to re-design or remove elements of your development that could result in harm within or around the WHS, using the WHS Development Impact Checklist. 

WHS Development Impact Checklist - Introduction

This checklist is intended to provide a quick way to establish whether your development will have an impact upon the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site (WHS). It is designed to help you consider the following questions;

  1. Will the WHS affect my project?
  2. If so, how does the WHS affect my project?
  3. How can I ensure my project contributes positively to the WHS?
  4. What changes might I need to make?

For more complex projects, or where your development could have an impact upon significant heritage features (or several heritage features), then it is recommended that you seek to engage the services of a heritage professional to assess the impacts of the scheme. They would then be able to undertake a Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) to see what impacts the development will have upon features such as listed buildings, archaeology, Conservation Areas, Scheduled Monuments and the WHS.

This checklist is simply designed to help identify what impacts might arise from your development in respect of the WHS.

1. Will the WHS affect my project?

1.0  Looking at the mapping you should now know if your development site is within one of the 10 WHS Areas, or if it is nearby or visible in views of the WHS Area.

You can use the questions below to help consider question 1 (above). These include an example to help get you started. You will see that questions 4 and 5 are not applicable as we have already noted the site is within the WHS Area 1: St Just Mining District.

  1. Is my site in or near the WHS?
  2. Which WHS Area is it?
    e.g. Area 1: St Just Mining District
  3. Is my site in the WHS?
    (if “no” see questions 4 and 5)
  4. Is my site near the WHS?
  5. Is the WHS visible from any part of my site?

2. If so, how does the WHS affect my project?

2.0  This section of the checklist should help you to look at your site and establish if there are any key Attributes on or near your site. You can also describe the current state of your site, such as its use, what buildings there are, their state of repair, landscaping, boundary walls or hedges, if the site is visible or if there are views out from the site, etc.

2.1  When you have considered these matters it will become clear if there are attributes and features of the WHS that may affect your project, as you start to think about how your development will interact with the WHS. This could be as simple as considering if your development will directly change or alter an attribute, such as adding an extension to a mineworkers’ cottage, or if a new dwelling would block views of an engine house.

The questions below are designed to provide a way of noting your answers to question 2 (above). An example is included to give you an idea of what you might look out for and what might be recorded on historic mapping.

  1. Site description 
    Example: house and garden - it is an old mineworkers’ cottage at the end of a terrace row.
  2. Are there any key Attributes on the site? 
    Example: the mineworkers’ cottage including its garden.
  3. Are there any key Attributes near the site? 
    Example: terraces of similar cottages, nearby mine site, some small fields, engine house in the distance.
  4. What uses and buildings are on site or nearby? 
    Example: current use is as a house with garden, the same as the other cottages in the row. The mine site nearby is mainly covered in vegetation, with a few spoil heaps and paths running through it. The engine house is derelict.
  5. Are there any other notable features on site? 
    Example: the house is made from stone and slate with a large chimney stack. There is a long narrow back garden closed in by stone walls and a Cornish hedge, and there is a smaller front garden with a stone wall and pedestrian gate between two granite gateposts. There is a stone outbuilding at the end of the garden used as a shed/store.
  6. Are there any notable features around the site? 
    Example: the cottages are all similar in style and there are 3 rows all in a line. They all back onto some small fields and the mine site is next to those fields. You can see the engine house in the distance and another set of cottages further to the west.

3. How can I ensure my project contributes positively to the WHS?

3.0  This section of the checklist is designed to help you set out what your project may have to consider to not cause harm to the WHS. Equally, any positive parts of the scheme, such as the sensitive restoration of a WHS attribute, might also be noted here.

This will help you to establish if the project will have any negative or positive impacts upon the WHS and then to consider if the project needs to be modified to avoid harm, or to increase positive outcomes for the WHS and the project overall. This will help develop some of the design responses for your project which consider how it interacts with the WHS.

The headings below should help you to consider some of the aspects of design for your project with specific reference to the WHS.

  • Layout 
    Example: are there any features about the site or area that should inform layout, such as historic layout, local street pattern, plots sizes, is there the ability to retain, expose or re-introduce heritage features, existing or new access point to be used?
  • Size (often referred to as “scale” and “massing”) 
    Example: is the project informed by existing or past development on or near the site? Will it be like these, or will it be smaller/taller? What building shapes, roof profiles could it reflect?
  • Materials 
    Example: the materials you use should be based upon any remaining structures on the site, archaeological evidence, period photographs and/or surrounding historical context. If new materials are proposed what is the basis for their use, why have they been chosen and how will they impact the WHS? Are they suitable, will they age well and are they of high quality?
  • External works 
    Example: consider what was/is the nature of the site. Was it a hard-surfaced industrial area or was it more rural? How were boundaries historically defined, what materials were used, was it a stone wall, Cornish hedge or something else? Are the boundaries and external areas important features of the site?

4. What changes might I need to make? 

4.0  Now that you have considered how your project could respond to the WHS you have the basis for considering the design choices you can make. This will then help you to establish if your project can be designed to have a positive response to the WHS and not cause harmful impacts.

The headings below can be used to consider your project and how it either positively or negatively impacts the WHS. The examples given are simple questions you can ask yourself as to how you could consider both positive and negative impacts and think about some possible solutions that have been developed through the checklist process thus far.

  • Layout 
    Example: the extension to the mineworkers’ cottage is single storey and to the rear. It is to be built in stone and have a metal roof. If the roof were changed to a natural slate, then it would match the materials of the dwelling better. This should make it blend well with the dwelling and is a modest addition. 
    Or: the porch to the front of the dwelling would be a large conservatory made of uPVC, this is not a traditional material and none of the cottages would have had porches originally. This is likely to have a negative impact on the main elevation of the dwelling and look out of place. Can it be omitted from the scheme?
  • Size (often referred to as “scale” and “massing”)
    Example: the proposed extension to the cottage will be in the form of a sloping (catslide roof) There are a few like this on other cottages and this seems appropriate. 
    Or: my extension will be flat roofed and will be two-storey in height. This is likely to look out of place. Can it be modified to make it have a pitched roof?
  • Materials
    Example: traditional stone and slate buildings are in the area adjacent to my site and a rendered or timber clad finish would look out of place. 
    Or: there are some corrugated roofs nearby, is the use of this suitable for my project?
  • External works 
    Example: I can rebuild the Cornish hedge to the rear of the property and repair the outbuilding that has fallen in disrepair. This would help bring those features back to the site. 
    Or: I need a new parking area, and this would require the demolition of the front stone wall and some tarmac to be laid down. This is likely to have a negative impact though as the cottages all have front garden areas and pedestrian gateways.

Further Advice

Hopefully the above checklist should help you consider how your project is impacted by the WHS and how your project can positively respond to the WHS.

Ideally the project should be designed so that it does not cause harm to the WHS. If the proposals do have the potential for negative impacts, then it is worth considering whether these can be lessened through a redesign of the project to avoid harm. The WHS Office would suggest that this would best be achieved by seeking further professional advice through commissioning a Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA). If thought necessary, the HIA process should be undertaken at the start of your concept planning to directly inform the design of your project.

The WHS Development Impact Checklist can also be downloaded as a PDF.