Sunderland cottages to Penshaw Monument; early monastic sites to Victorian terraces; the historic environment of the city is rich and diverse and warrants every effort being made to sustain it for the enrichment of the city's communities, both present and future.

Sunderland's built heritage

Planning applications

The council's conservation team works as part of the planning service, fulfilling a number of roles. The team is responsible for providing consultation responses on planning applications that may affect the historic environment, such as those in conservation areas and those that involve listed buildings. Preparation of such responses may require site visits, historical research and meetings with applicants. These comments are available on the council's planning portal alongside other documents pertaining to applications and may be accessed by the applicant and members of the public through the Development Control pages.

Character appraisals and management strategies

The team is also responsible for the preparation of and consultation on conservation area character appraisals and management strategies (CAMS). The council is currently working to produce appraisals and plans for all fourteen of Sunderland's conservation areas, as well as a small number of proposed future conservation areas. The documents are designed to be used as a tool for planning officers in determining planning applications and also as a resource for residents of conservation areas.

A number of appraisals and strategies have been completed and adopted as formal planning guidance. The council's CAMS documents are available on the Character Appraisals and Management Strategies page. CAMS documents form part of the council's Local Development Scheme.

Listed buildings

The team does a great deal of work with applicants wishing to make alterations to, or change the use of listed buildings. Listed buildings are of national architectural or historic interest - this can be anything from a major building such as a cathedral to a terrace or cottage. Some buildings are listed because they have been designed particularly well, or they may be one of a kind, other buildings might be listed if they are associated with important events in history.

There are three grades of listing; grades II, II* and I; the grade denotes the relative national importance of a building, but has no implication on what is listed - both the exterior and the interior of all buildings on the list are protected.

The team is always happy to speak to or meet with applicants to provide advice prior to applications for planning consent and listed building consent being made.