4 This Forward Plan

4.1 Purpose

This plan sets out Dorset Council and BCP Council objectives for the Historic Environment Record and will steer HER development over the next five years.

The plan is in part structured in accordance with a template provided by Historic England, the body with oversight of HERs in England. It refers to national benchmarks for HERs and draws upon an audit of the Dorset HER undertaken in 2019. It provides a yardstick against which HER progress and performance against national standards can be measured.

This plan will help deliver Dorset Council’s priorities for the next four years.

As stated in Dorset Council’s Plan 2020-2024 it will contribute to:

  • Economic growth - we will deliver sustainable economic growth, increasing productivity and the number of high-quality jobs in Dorset, creating great places to live, work and visit
  • Unique environment - we will help to deliver sustainable development while protecting and enhancing Dorset’s environment
  • Suitable housing - we will work with registered housing providers, community land trusts and local housing partners to deliver affordable, suitable and decent housing
  • Strong, healthy communities - we will work with residents and partners to build and maintain strong communities where people get the best start and lead fulfilling lives
  • Staying safe and well - we will work with all our residents to have a good quality of life

In Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council’s Plan it will contribute to:

  • Sustainable Environment - Leading our communities towards a cleaner, sustainable future that preserves our outstanding environment for generations to come
  • Dynamic Places - Supporting an innovative, successful economy in a great place to live, learn, work and visit
  • Connected Communities - Empowering our communities so everyone feels safe, engaged and included
  • Brighter Futures - Caring for our children and young people; providing a nurturing environment, high quality education and great opportunities to grow Brighter Futures and ­flourish
  • Fulfilled Lives - Helping people lead active, healthy and independent lives, adding years to life and life to year

4.2 Users and target audience

This plan will be used by the Historic Environment Team as a framework as we work to develop and enhance the HER.  It will be used by Dorset Council, Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole Council, Historic England and other HER users and stakeholders to monitor progress and identify where resources are required. It will support bids for external funding and participation in national projects.

This plan is also a statement of our immediate plans and long-term aspirations for current and potential volunteers, for local authority colleagues who will be using the HER more regularly and to better effect, for parish liaison officers and the councils and communities they represent. 

4.3 How this plan relates to other plans, strategies and processes

The national Heritage Information Access Strategy (HIAS) is a programme of interlinked projects designed to simplify and improve public access to heritage data held or generated by Historic England, by Local Authority Historic Environment Records and by other bodies. 

HIAS Principle 1 is that Local Authority HERs should be the first point of call for and primary trusted source of investigative research data and knowledge.

The Dorset Cultural Strategy 2016-21 discusses the role of culture in creating:

  • a thriving, competitive economy delivering good quality employment;
  • a resilient infrastructure providing access to cultural and leisure opportunities;
  • understanding, enjoyment and safeguarding of Dorset’s environment; and
  • opportunities for people to enjoy and achieve, promoting health and wellbeing within safe and thriving communities

Heritage and the historic environment feature throughout but are considered particularly in Outcome Three of the strategy (Understanding, enjoying, and safeguarding Dorset’s environment with planning for the future) which states the following ambitions:

A. Cultural needs and culture’s potential to improve the public realm and historic environment is integrated into local planning guidance and policy.

B. Public awareness of opportunities in Dorset’s environment for cultural activity.

C. Dorset is internationally recognised for excellence in using culture and creativity to engender understanding and stewardship of the environment.

D. The collaborative actions of culture and environment organisations has resulted in climate change awareness and mitigation within local communities.

The strategy identifies as a priority (Outcome Three, Priority 1.ii):

‘Secure recognition of cultural infrastructure in planning policy because: i. Culture plays a major role in reducing health inequalities through preventative lifestyle changes; and ii. Culture offers community and environmental benefit, integrating relevant evidence such as the Historic Environment Record, with the resources of archives, libraries, museums, natural environment, and sport.’

This Forward Plan will help promote and support local delivery of: 

  • the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan
  • public investment strategies. Guide targeting and prioritising of land management grants.
  • local and spatial plans. HERs provide part of the evidence base for local plans
  • marine plans
  • development management
  • health and wellbeing
  • catchment management plans
  • community planning
  • research frameworks
  • designation of heritage assets

4.4 Objectives

The following objectives have been identified over the next five years:

  1. To participate in Historic England’s NRHE to HERs project.
  2. To complete revision of the current HER database content to resolve ‘legacy’ issues from historic data migrations and as a basis for enhancement.
  3. To plan and commence a programme of thematic enhancements of the HER database, and to secure funding for this as necessary.
  4. To make more use of the website and online forms and guidance to streamline the processing of HER enquiries and the flow of data into the HER.
  5. To increase awareness and understanding of the role of the HER and Historic Environment Team within the host authority, establish procedures and tools for use of and reporting to the HER.
  6. To ensure that local authority assets and holdings are recorded in the HER and their significance assessed.
  7. To provide HER data via a dedicated website.
  8. To increase the number of volunteers working on the HER, and to provide them with a more structured and rewarding experience.

The background to these objectives is discussed in more detail in the next section. 

The next part of the forward plan

5 Issues and opportunities

Senior Archaeologist, Promotion and Liaison

Name: Claire Pinder
Email: Claire.Pinder@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk
Tel: 01305 224921
Full contact details

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