A growing number of studies have sought to value the benefits of heritage. However, these have tended to focus on specific buildings (for example, cathedrals, churches and historic houses) or high profile historic sites. Whilst important, these only form part of the historic environment, which is a much broader concept encompassing streets, spaces, landscapes, parks and gardens, people’s homes and all physical remains of past human activity.
Analysis of the economic, social and environmental benefits of the historic environment has been relatively limited and often of a qualitative nature. To help address this, English Heritage commissioned AMION to undertake research on the impact of historic environment regeneration. The main aim of the study was to provide an assessment of the impacts that can arise from heritage-led regeneration, focusing in particular on the indirect benefits, such as increased economic activity, job creation and improved civic pride and community engagement.
As part of the study, a number of case studies were selected, In respect of each case study, consultations were undertaken and face-to-face and telephone surveys were carried out of local residents, workers, visitors and businesses. The results of the consultations, beneficiary surveys and other research were analysed in order to assess the impact of each case study in terms of employment, business performance and Gross Value Added, along with a range of social and environmental benefits.
The study found strong evidence of the benefits of heritage-led regeneration. In particular, towns and cities that are known for having historic environments are often highly regarded as places people want to visit. The case studies also demonstrated that the economic benefits alone often justify public sector investment in the historic environment.
The study has now been published by English Heritage and can be accessed at: