The historic environment is a central resource for modern life. It has a powerful influence on peoples’ sense of identity and civic pride. Its enduring physical presence contributes significantly to the character and ‘sense of place’ of rural and urban environments. In Essex this resource is rich, complex and irreplaceable. It has developed through a history of human activity that spans many thousands of years. Some of the resource lies hidden and often unrecognised beneath the ground in the form of archaeological deposits. Other elements, such as the area’s historic landscape, are a highly visible record of millennia of agriculture, industry and commerce and now form an integral aspect of peoples’ daily lives. The ‘built’ part of the historic environment is equally rich, with towns, villages and hamlets.
As a fundamental aspect of the county’s environmental infrastructure, the historic environment has a major role to play in Essex’s future. At the same time it is sensitive to change and it needs to be properly understood before change is planned in order to ensure proper management and conservation so that the historic environment can make its full contribution to shaping sustainable communities. It is important that the many opportunities for the enhancement of the historic environment are realised and that adverse impacts associated with development are minimised so as to avoid unnecessary degradation. The historic environment lends character to places and provides a positive template for new development. It can play a key role in creating a ‘sense of place’ and identities as new communities are created and existing ones enhanced.
See Local Authority pages.
Page updated: 1/02/2018