New development in historic settings


Policy & legislation on this topic is generally either focussed on protecting the historic context or asset, or the quality of new design.

Scottish Historic Environment Policy (SHEP)
The Scottish Historic Environment Policy (SHEP) sets out Scottish Ministers’ policies for the creative management of Scotland’s historic environment.

Scottish Planning Policy (SPP)
SPP sets out national planning policies which reflect Scottish Ministers’ priorities for operation of the planning system and for the development and use of land.  The SPP promotes consistency in the application of policy across Scotland whilst allowing sufficient flexibility to reflect local circumstances. It directly relates to enabling positive change in the historic environment.

Creating Places – A policy statement on architecture and place for Scotland
Scotland’s new policy statement on architecture and place sets out the comprehensive value good design can deliver. Successful places can unlock opportunities, build vibrant communities and contribute to a flourishing economy. The document contains an action plan that sets out the work that will be taken forward to achieve positive change.


New Design in Historic Settings (Historic Scotland and Architecture + Design Scotland, 2010)
This publication aims is to explore how good design in historic settings is achieved. The advice is aimed at designers, developers, local authorities, community groups and other important stakeholders such as amenity bodies.

Historic Scotland Managing Change Guidance Note – Setting
This guidance note sets out the principles that apply to developments affecting the setting of historic assets or places including scheduled monuments, listed buildings, inventory parks/ gardens/designed landscapes, World Heritage Sites, conservation areas, and designated wrecks.

Case Studies

Our views

These letters are examples of letters SCT has written in response to Listed Building Consents, Conservation Area Consents and Planning Permission applications. Use them to help you frame your own comments on a planning application, and to better understand how historic environment policy and guidance can be used to support your comments. 

A new heritage centre for the Battle of Bannockburn site (July 2011)
A proposal for a new heritage centre was considered to be a bold and contemporary design concept which is fitting for the site, helping to create a sense of character and atmosphere in a location which has lost much of its setting.

Marischal Square development, Aberdeen (June 2014)
While we felt that this significant mixed-use application makes some general moves in the right direction in terms of layout, the Trust considered that these proposals are not yet befitting of the very high quality built environment surrounding the site. We encouraged the Council to refuse this application, and to work towards a more fully resolved solution with improvements in elevational treatment and massing, to better reflect the character of the surrounding area, and to ensure that the setting of several nationally important listed buildings is not negatively impacted by this development.

Useful Links

Architecture + Design Scotland
Architecture and Design Scotland (A+DS) is Scotland’s champion for excellence in placemaking, architecture and planning. We are an Executive NDPB of the Scottish Government. A+DS aims to support the creation of places that work, which provide people with real choices and, are ultimately, places where people want to be.