One of WGT objectives seeks to ensure the conservation of important gardens that may be threatened by planning applications. Promoting the protection and enhancement of notable parks and gardens within Wiltshire is very important to the Trust. To this end Planning Applications are regularly scrutinised, sites occasionally visited and comments then made to planning authorities if it is felt that a planning application could potentially harm an important park or garden.
The County of Wiltshire has a number of parks and gardens on the English Heritage Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historic Interest in England and additionally there are many non-registered parks and gardens which add variety and interest to our landscape.
Many people are aware that buildings are protected by the listing process, whilst few appreciate that some parks and gardens have a degree of protection which is similarly graded: I of international importance; II* of outstanding national importance; II of national importance.
The following Wiltshire gardens are grade I listed: Bowood, Longleat, Stourhead, Wilton, Iford: Grade II* listed include: Corsham Court, Belcombe Court, Bradford on Avon and grade II include: Spye Park.
Planning applications affecting grade I and II* registered sites must be referred to English Heritage, while all cases must be referred to the Garden History Society who may comment on significant proposals. Many of the applications are referred to the Wiltshire Gardens Trust for comment but there is still no statutory role for county gardens trusts. Most planning authorities however, do consider representations made by trusts.
Many applications are well prepared and require no comment from the Wiltshire Gardens Trust. However, where there is a conflict, evidence may be submitted of the conflict with the features that are affected and, if appropriate, suggestions made as to how the proposed development may be more sympathetically achieved. Alternatively an outright objection, with reasons, will be submitted if the proposal is totally unacceptable.
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