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  • Writer's pictureChris Winter

Wells - A Key Historic City

Updated: Jun 4

Press release 11th October 2022.

The City of Wells has played a key part in a national research project looking at housing growth in historic cities.


Following extensive research carried out in twelve cathedral cities and towns throughout England, the final report “Towards a Better Balance Between Heritage and Growth” has been launched.


The project was funded by Historic England, and carried out by the partnership of the Alliance of Historic Cathedral Cities and Towns (ACT), the Historic Towns and Villages Forum (HTVF) and Allies and Morrison Urban Practitioners (AMUP).


ACT came out of a coalition of Civic Societies, and the research incorporates the views of civic societies, local authority councillors and officers, using extensive surveys and interviews.


Chair of Wells Civic Society, Chris Winter, who is a founding member of ACT said: “I was delighted that Wells was chosen as the pilot case study for this important work. Like so many civic societies, in Wells we strive to protect the heritage but also appreciate the need for additional housing. It is possible that with good planning and design, and an appreciation of what makes a place special, a balance can be achieved. The report supports the view that civic societies have a role to play in working with planning authorities and developers to ensure early and meaningful consultation, in order that the provision of appropriate housing in a particular location helps to secure the economic future of historic towns.

“However, as the report points out, good, strategic planning needs to take account of the heritage, landscape, character, views, density and the surrounding infrastructure, as well as using other tools, such as local housing needs assessment and design guidance.


“But, she added, “a major issue flagged up by all participants was the severe lack of resources to achieve this ideal.”


“Towards a better balance between heritage and growth” will be presented at an evening meeting of the Society on February 8th 2023. Contact or see for further details.


The full report consists of three parts:


1. Main Report (73 pages)

2. Issues and Opportunities (95 pages)

3. Executive Summary (11 pages)


which can be downloaded here.


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