Lincolnshire’s towns – the meaning of place

Lincolnshire County Council has within its Planning Services the Historic Places Team. This team provides advice on development and its likely impact upon heritage assets. This advice is based upon the information held in the county’s Historic Environment Record. The team also run the county’s Portable Antiquities Scheme and a number of other projects to promote an understanding of the county’s wealth of heritage.In response to the need to understand the towns of the county Historic England are funding the team to carry out what is known as the Extensive Urban Survey.
This is part of a national programme of characterisation projects and is one of a number of projects across the country looking at historic cities, the rural landscape and small towns. Projects like this aim to improve our understanding so we can better manage change to the special places of England.

The Lincolnshire survey will cover the historic county, so will include North Lincolnshire and North East Lincolnshire Councils, and incorporates a highly varied group of towns. The main aim of the project is to increase our understanding of the historical development of each town and to identify how the history of each place can be read in how the town looks today.

The project officer, Nicola Grayson, will be in post for three years. As well as all the research and computer mapping work she will engage partners like Heritage Lincolnshire to undertake a programme of community activities. The team is striving to ensure the outputs of the project are relevant to and used by as many people and organisations as possible. Above all the aim is for the people of Lincolnshire to engage with the project and to help us understand their local town better.

The project outputs will be used to support and inform the development of local planning policies and will respond to national planning guidance, particularly those set out in the National Planning Policy Framework. This improved evidence base will assist the local authorities of the historic county of Lincolnshire and their partners in planning for the care of the county’s historic urban environment, protecting historic character and  promoting sympathetic regeneration at a time of intense development pressure.

The national spotlight is on our town centres as their economic future is threatened by the rise in online shopping and working at home. This project will generate evidence which will help us plan a sustainable long term future for our historic towns.

So far the project has surveyed Holbeach, Market Deeping, Boston, Cleethorpes, Grantham, Spilsby and Market Rasen. You can access some of the reports for these towns on the project website on the website there are also exciting maps which demonstrate exactly how towns have been shaped and grown through time! Not just this, but very soon we will have learning packs available through the site, so you too can learn how to undertake your own surveys!