The audit covers aspects such as the use, age, size and condition of buildings; building materials; the presence and nature of fences, walls and hedges; the number and location of trees; and an assessment of townscape value. It also extends to cover areas such as legal protections (eg listed status), the availability of grants for repair and conservation, and the number and nature of planning applications (to give an indication of the pressure on character and appearance).
The audit enables a local community either to prepare a 'village statement' as part of the statutory planning process or to comment on such a statement produced by a local planning authority.
Three villages within the Peterborough City Council area have been used to pilot the project - Thorney, Castor and Ailsworth. The villages are very different in character and have therefore been a useful test of the application of the audit tools.
The Castor and Ailsworth Built Environment Audits, plus a document outling the tools and process and the lessons learned, were launched on June 4th 2004 at the Cedar Centre, Castor.
The Thorney Built Environment Audit was launched on 18 February 2005.
This Peterborough study is a 'national first'.
The Castor Built Environment Audit is available from PECT priced £10.00 postage and packaging.
The Ailsworth Built Environment Audit is available from PECT priced £10.00 postage and packaging.