Understanding what heritage is and how its benefits our lives is only the starting point. In order to maximise the potential of our heritage and to ensure that it is safeguarded for the future it needs to be managed and protected. This section helps you to navigate the planning legislation that exists for the protection of our heritage assets.

Local guidance, policies and strategies

Information regarding Oxford's local guidance, policies and strategies can be found on our Planning Policy pages.

International statement on heritage

The Athens Charter for the Restoration of Historic Monuments 1931

These Conclusions were drafted at the end of a conference on the restoration of historic monuments and buildings held in Athens in 1931. This document introduced important conservation concepts and principles:

  • the idea of a common world heritage
  • the importance of the setting of monuments
  • the principle of integration of new materials

The Conclusions were ahead of their time in calling for the reburial of archaeological remains when conservation cannot be guaranteed.

Venice Charter (International Charter for the Conservation and Restoration of Monuments and Sites) 1964

The Venice Charter codifies internationally accepted standards of conservation practice relating to architecture and sites. It sets forth principles of conservation based on the concept of authenticity and the importance of maintaining the historical and physical context of a site or building. The Venice Charter continues to be the most influential international conservation document.

The Burra Charter (Australia ICOMOS Charter for Places of Cultural Significance) 1999

The Burra Charter is a national charter that establishes principles for the management and conservation of cultural sites in Australia. The Charter is particularly significant for its definition of cultural significance and the standards it outlines for using cultural significance to manage and conserve cultural sites.

UNESCO World Heritage Convention

The Convention defines the kind of natural or cultural sites which can be considered for inscription on the World Heritage List .

Grenada Convention (For the Protection of Architectural Heritage of Europe)

The Convention for the Protection of the Architectural Heritage of Europe is both a culmination and a starting-point. Is is the legal confirmation at international level of twenty years of European co-operation in architectural heritage matters and, at the same time, constitutes a new framework for co-operation for the member states of the Council of Europe and, where appropriate, other states.

Valetta Convention (for the protection of the Archaeological Heritage of Europe)

The aim of this (revised) Convention is to protect the archaeological heritage as a source of the European collective memory and as an instrument for historical and scientific study.

Florence Convention (European Landscape Convention)

The European Landscape Convention - also known as the Florence Convention, - promotes the protection, management and planning of European landscapes and organises European co-operation on landscape issues.

Faro Convention (on the value of Cultural Heritage for Society)

The Convention arose from the desire of the Committee of Ministers to provide a framework of reference for heritage policies, particularly in the context of rights and responsibilities in this area and the positive benefits which can be drawn from the use of the heritage as cultural capital, with a view to underpinning existing Council of Europe instruments concerning more specific aspects of cultural heritage. A sound and all-embracing framework was judged necessary to ensure cultural heritage and culture in general their rightful place at the centre of a new vision for sustainable development.

ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites) X'ian Declaration

This declaration sets out the principles and recommendations agreed at the 15th General Assembly of ICOMOS to better protect and conserve the world’s heritage structures, sites and areas in their settings.

National guidance and legislation

Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979

This Act provides for the protection of monuments considered to be of national significance through scheduling. This schedule provides details of each monument and a short description. Descriptions vary considerably in the level of details provided with older descriptions typically providing fewer details.

Oxford presently has nine Scheduled Monuments within the City.

Planning (Listed Building and Conservation Areas) Act 1990

An Act to consolidate certain enactments relating to special controls in respect of buildings and areas of special architectural or historic interest with amendments to give effect to recommendations of the Law Commission.

National Planning Policy Framework 2012

The National Planning Policy Framework sets out the Government's planning policies for England and how these are expected to be applied, including considerations relating to the conservation and enhancement of the built and natural environment. The replaces Planning Policy Statement 5: Planning for the Historic Environment.

Historic England Conservation Principles

'Conservation Principles' set out the framework within which English Heritage manages its own estate as well as the thinking that guides its advice to others.  This section also illustrates the principles in action, showing how historic buildings can accommodate change successfully.

Contact Design, Heritage & Specialist Services

Address: Town Hall
St Aldate's

Telephone: 01865 249811

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