The Gardens Trust is a statutory consultee in the English planning system. This means that local authorities have to consult us on any planning applications that affect gardens and landscapes listed on Historic England’s Register of Historic Parks and Gardens of special historic interest. We are always happy to discuss proposals with owners, developers or local people in order to get the best outcome. The Gardens Trust is supported in this important conservation role by local County Garden Trusts.
We work closely with the Welsh Historic Parks and Gardens Trust and Scotland’s Garden and Landscape Heritage, who fulfil a similar role in their countries. There are no other organisations doing this work.
Consultations relating to registered sites
Local planning authorities must consult the Gardens Trust in relation to all planning applications that may affect historic designed landscapes in England and Wales that are on the Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest, held by Historic England. (When the Gardens Trust was formed in July 2015 following a merger of the Garden History Society and the Association of Gardens Trusts (representing the County Gardens Trusts of England and Wales), it was confirmed by Government to be the new statutory consultee in relation to planning applications which affect the designed historic landscape, a role which, since 1995, had been performed by the Garden History Society).
These consultations are dealt with by the Gardens Trust’s conservation team, working closely with volunteers in the County Gardens Trusts.
The Gardens Trust sends to the County Gardens Trusts (CGTs) on a weekly basis a list of all the conservation consultations logged by the Gardens Trust consisting mainly of planning applications. The CGTs, as members of the Gardens Trust, may respond to applications in consultation with the Gardens Trust. A CGT response may however be independent of a response from the Gardens Trust.
The consultation requirement is triggered by any development proposal which affects the registered site: this may be at some distance, and have no physical connection with the registered site. Each application should therefore be considered carefully for its potential impact on designed views into, as well as from, the landscape and setting. Making appropriate consultations not only fulfils the statutory requirements (and thereby reduces the risk of any permission being challenged) but allows the application to be considered by experts in the field.
Consultations relating to non-registered sites
The Gardens Trust receives some consultations relating to sites which are not included on the Historic England Register. In some cases it will be possible for us to provide appropriate advice. In other cases, however, we do not have sufficient information about the site concerned, and in these cases work with the relevant County Garden Trust to address the issue.
The Gardens Trust responds to Government consultations on matters of national policy.