The Impact of Growth on our Rural Heritage

Thursday 12th June 2008

"Thank you so much for a great event yesterday. I learned a lot and it was really good to see things from a new perspective. We have come away with new ideas. Thanks again." Delegate, Norfolk County Council

Norfolk Growth

This tour and seminar explored the effectiveness of past solutions of building expansion in villages. It looked at examples of new developments to consider how they harmonised with the rural historic environment.

The joint pressures of housing growth and climate change have led to the need for sustainable new development. Accommodating this need sympathetically within historic villages has now become a key matter for all planners.

Councillors, planners, conservation and heritage officers from across the East of England were among the many delegates attending this hugely popular seminar and tour in a bid to equip them with the skills and knowledge for delivering better designed and more sustainable dwellings in adjoining historic areas.

The one-day training event involved a study tour of South Cambridgeshire, exploring rural growth occurring alongside major residential settlements, to learn how best to retain village character.

Highlights included a trip to Trumpington village on the outskirts of Cambridge; visiting a contemporary infill on a former police station in a conservation area at Great Shelford before going on to Comberton for a site tour and talk. The new settlement of Cambourne was the final stop on the tour. Creating a community in the 21st century village of Cambourne. Delegates then considered what lessons have been learned about sustainable infrastructure and growing a community in Cambourne. Finally, Charles Couzens, Director of Ecotrust, shared his knowledge of the EcoTrust’s first eco home development at Great Bowyard, Langport, Somerset. This contemporary infill scheme has received a CABE Building for Life gold standard.

English Heritage Regional Director, Greg Luton explained:
‘The East of England has three of the four growth areas planned by Government, and in what is predominantly a rural region with a historic settlement pattern of hamlets, villages and market towns.'

‘English Heritage is delighted to be able to fund this seminar by Shape under a grant, which will ultimately help show councillors how to manage growth when it impacts on rural areas and ensure that there is high quality design which is complementary to the historic environment.’

Frances Downie, Director, Shape East said, ‘This seminar and tour examining the impact of growth on our rural heritage has provided delegates with an opportunity to spend time exploring examples of rural development close to urban centres, to inform future development in growth areas. The event was also a great chance for councillors and officers to come together and debate new ideas.’

This event series is funded by CABE and English Heritage.


  • View the day's agenda here
  • View the day's invite here