Historic England have established a national record of historic parks and gardens which make an important contribution to our landscape heritage. From town gardens and public parks to the great country estates, such places are an important, distinctive and much cherished part of our inheritance.
Plymouth has six registered parks and gardens:
- Civic Square (Grade II)
- Devonport Park (Grade II)
- Ford Park Cemetery (Grade II)
- The Hoe (Grade II)
- Plympton House (Grade II)
- Saltram Estate (Grade II* due to the garden becoming formal in the eighteenth century, with advice on garden structures from Lord Grantham and from c.1770 advice from the landscape designer, Nathaniel Richmond)
How registered parks and gardens are designated
Generally, parks or gardens over 30 years old are considered to be historic. However whether a site merits national recognition depends on a number of factors including its age, rarity, and what has survived. To warrant designation Historic England assesses the park or garden to see if it is worthy of inclusion on the national list. Criteria include historic interest, age, condition, amenity value, and nature conservation interest.
Designated parks and gardens often need to meet several of the criteria below:
The age and sometimes the rarity of a park/garden is given special consideration. More recent sites would normally need to be of particular interest to be considered. Devonport Park is an early example of a Victorian park.
Influential sites, major designers and good standard examples
One aspect that may make a site 'special' may be that it was laid out by a nationally famous designer, or that it had a strong influence in changing fashions. The Civic Square is a good example of this which was designed by Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe, a notable landscape designer of the 20th century.
Close and direct associations with nationally important people or events influence consideration. The Hoe is a good example of this, which includes the foreshore, promenade and park, is associated with many national events, not least the Spanish Armada.
When a park/garden is of historic interest but not of sufficient importance in its own right to merit registration, it may be eligible if it forms a strong group value with buildings, with other land, or with a group of other registerable sites. It may for example, form an important element within a fine example of town planning. The Civic Square is a good example of this.
The majority of parks/gardens will have developed as a series of additions or alterations as needs and fashions changed, with each phase of development varying in its impact on the landscape and its degree of interest.The Hoe is a good example of this.
The development of some sites is particularly well recorded in archives and published material. Where such records do exist they can add considerably to our understanding of the site and contribute to its interest. Saltram Park is an example of this.
No matter how important a site once was, if it no longer exists it won't be registered. However, some sites which are in poor condition may still be registered, particularly if their design or layout remains sufficiently intact.
Permanent landscape elements such as structural shrubberies, hedges and trees, rather than short-lived planting schemes will be considered as part of the evaluation process.
How to request registration
If you own, have an interest in, or a concern about a historic park/garden you can submit a request to Historic England for it to be considered for registration.
We offer pre-application advice and information
You can use our planning pre-application advice service (£57 for one hour) which involves a face to face meeting at Ballard House with a historic environment officer to discuss your proposal or to check if your property is in a conservation area. They can advise if consent is required and guide you through the process.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01752 304366 for more information and to book an appointment.
Any request should include:
- A covering letter explaining the reason for the request and the urgency
- Details of the location showing its national grid reference, the local authority in which it lies and a map
- Information on ownership if known
- A brief written statement outlining the special interest of the park/garden in its national context, a brief note of its historic development and a brief description of the site as it is today (including mention of features within it of particular note)
- A set of current photographs clearly labelled
- Supporting information including copies of any documents which provide relevant details of the historic evolution of the park or garden, early editions of the Ordnance Survey maps are particularly useful as are other historic maps
Controls applied to registered parks and gardens
You may need to submit a historic landscape assessment, site masterplan and site management plan with a planning application that affects a registered park or garden.
However the effect of proposed development on a registered park or garden or its setting is a material consideration in the determination of a plan application. Where development proposals affect a registered park or garden, The Gardens Trust are notified to provide comment and advice on the affects of the application on the special character or appearance of the park or garden. Similarly Historic England are notified for all proposals affecting Grade I Grade II* listed parks and gardens. The Council's Core Strategy recognises the value of our historic parks and gardens and aims to protect them from development that is harmful to their character or setting.
Registered parks and gardens that fall within an Area Action Plan are given specific consideration. Conservation area consent and listed building consent may be required if the park is within or designated a conservation area and/or there are listed buildings/structures within it. Whilst the Hoe registered park lies within the Hoe conservation area, none of the other parks share this additional protection. Through the Local Development Framework and the ongoing review of the conservation areas with city, conservation area designation for registered parks will be considered.