Statements of Significance
Understanding the significance of a listed building is at the core of informing decisions regarding its care and adaptation. The following page explains:
Why understanding significance is important
How to identify significance
Statements of Significance - what they are and what they should contain
Why do we need to understand our building's significance?
Knowing how significant part of a building is, and what makes it so important, allows you to take that into consideration when making plans that might affect your building. This means that you can make sure that the things which make your building special can be kept for future generations, or, if something is presenting an obstacle to achieving the Church's vision or mission, whether it is justified to change or remove that feature forever.
How do we identify our building's significance?
In order to identify your building's significance you need to find examples of heritage interest contained in or around the building or its contents. In general, Baptist listed buildings will have aspects with each of the following types of interest:
Historic - things illustrating or associated with important people or events from the past; these may also have a particular communal or spiritual importance
Architectural or Artistic - things which have been made with creative skills or good design; this can include features of your building or fixtures and fittings which may be especially attractive or innovative
Archaeological - things which might give evidence of any human activity in the past which might be worthy of expert investigation at some point
Importantly, your building's significance will often be linked to its context, either locally, regionally or nationally. Considering it in relationship with, or in comparison to, the circumstances which contribute to its heritage interest, is essential to fully understanding its significance.
What's a Statement of Significance and what should it include?
A Statement of Significance is a document which describes the features of a listed building which have each type of heritage interest, giving an indication of whether they have high, moderate or low significance as a result.
It is a required accompanying document to applications for Authorisation for works to a Baptist listed building as, in line with the process of Authorisation's purpose: to ensure our heritage is conserved, and where appropriate enhanced, in a way that is consistent with its significance and thereby achieving sustainable development, it is the document which demonstrates to the Committee that the particulars of a building's significance have been understood by the applicant.
A Statement of Significance submitted in accompaniment of an application for Authorisation for works to a Baptist listed building should be proportionate to the scale of the works proposed. However, applicants should note that Statements of Significance which do not indicate that the heritage interest of a listed building has been fully and objectively evaluated are likely to result in the Committee requesting further information to support the application, delaying the progress of the application.
We would strongly recommend that churches keep a working draft of a Statement of Significance for their building, or at least keep all the information which they might need to write one together in one place, and add to this as new information comes to light. This may then be used to inform discussions around care and adaptation of the building, and may be adapted to support an application for Authorisation for works.
Baptists Together Guide to writing Statements of Significance
Our brief guide to writing a Statement of Significance for an application for Authorisation for works to a listed building gives a brief outline of the following:
General guidance e.g. suggested word count
Definitions of heritage interest and links to further guidance
Where to find information you might need to identify what heritage interest your building has
Recommended content - examples of things your chapel might have that give it heritage interest
Download the Statements of Significance Guidance
Both CADW and Historic England's guidance on Conservation Principles contain helpful information on the definition and identification of significance, follow the links to access these:
CADW Conservation Principles
HE Conservation Principles