Historic Landscape Characterisation (HLC) can provide key background information and an Evidence Base for planning policies by identifying both positive and negative existing townscape and landscape elements and opportunities for future enhancement. The HLC includes specific detail about local character and distinctiveness, those individual historic assets contributing to it and the relative significance of those assets in relation to the historic environment as a whole. In particular it supplies a spatially expressed framework of historical understanding upon which Urban Design analysis and proposals for change and enhancement can be mapped. This enables the vision for an area to be rooted in a detailed appreciation of the historic environment and local distinctiveness.
The characterisation identifies constraints and opportunities for future development. The designation of listed buildings, locally listed buildings, conservation areas and archaeological priority areas provides certainty for the development process. Urban design principles emerging from analysis of the existing fabric will enable new developments that reunite historical elements and provide appropriate links between the historic environment and new 21st century urban landscapes.
As part of a national programme supported by English Heritage a Historic Landscape Characterisation (HLC) has been undertaken for the whole of the Black Country area. The study was prepared in support of the Black Country Core Strategy in 2011. The Black Country HLC analyses and records the origins and development of the modern landscape covering the areas of Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton. To view the document, you can find it at the Archaeology Data Service.
The level of detail contained in the Black Country HLC is intentionally broad and strategic and it is being complemented and supplemented by further 'Local Area Character Appraisals' such as the Brierley Hill Urban Historic Landscape Characterisation. These 'drill down' to the local level and seek to define in detail the distinctive character of an area and identify those historic assets which contribute to it. Future change can then be positively managed whilst conserving and enhancing local character and distinctiveness.
Historic Landscape Characterisations have been carried out within the Dudley Borough for Brierley Hill, Dudley, Stourbridge, Halesowen and the area known as the Glass Quarter. A Borough-wide survey has also been undertaken in support of the Dudley Borough Development Strategy (March 2017).