On this scheduled Ancient Monument site, we successfully integrated landscape, heritage and ecological services to provide guidelines on future management and inform decision making about development proposals within the monument area.
Western Heights is an extensive area of fortifications, including several listed buildings, and a central part of Dover’s important defence heritage. Its sheer size, not to mention its fragmented ownership and some inappropriate past development within its boundary, presents many challenges in relation to its future management.
In collaboration with Dover District Council and external specialists, our multidisciplinary team provided a combined heritage and landscape appraisal for this historically and culturally significant site. The purpose of this integrated study was to provide the information and analysis to support establishing a “shared vision” for the Western Heights, from an understanding of the interplay between its history, the character that has developed in response to that history and the present-day uses
Our key challenge was to help determine what measures are needed to secure the future of the fortifications in the context of ongoing change. Following a detailed assessment of the current and historic landscape, significant views and visual relationships, we developed a series of action plans recommending different management regimes appropriate to the different character areas of the study site. We also assessed the potential visual relationships of key strategic developments in the surrounding area with the visual setting of the monument.
The multidisciplinary Western Heights Combined Heritage and Landscape Appraisal project will allow Dover District Council to approach the future management of the monument, and development control within its setting, from an informed perspective that will celebrate all its diverse values, ensuring its continued relevance and enjoyment for years to come.
Mary O’Connor, Associate Director at WYG, said: “Close collaboration across various WYG teams allowed the different sensitivities and priorities to be identified and balanced in a management strategy that will respect the site’s significant heritage, its current amenity value and its important ecology, and the opportunities offered by the site’s heritage, landscape amenity and ecology to be fully realised.”
We are grateful to all external partners involved in the project, including Historic England, English Heritage, and Kent County Council for their invaluable input.