The two most important aims of the South Yorkshire Local Heritage List are that nominations can be made by anyone and everyone and that by being on the list, these places can be protected as part of the local authority’s Planning System.

Since our launch in September, the most visible of these aims has definitely been the public nomination of heritage assets, not only have we received lots of brilliant nominations, we’ve also been out talking to people all over the region, trying to make sure everybody knows about the local heritage list. However, like the proverbial swan, there has been plenty of activity below the surface on trying to achieve the second aim, to have the list recognised as part of the Planning system. To do this the Councils of Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield need to formally adopt the Local Heritage List, both as a way of registering important heritage assets and as an approved list of the assets themselves.

Over the past 5 months the Local Heritage List has received some amazing nominations from all over South Yorkshire. There have been all sorts of places, from furnaces to water troughs, churches to fields with ridge and furrow marks, shops, houses, farms and much more! Every one has been different and each gives us that little bit more valuable information on how the region developed and grew into the places we all know so well.

Like the places they refer to, the nomination forms themselves have also been interesting to read, some are very detailed, others quite succinct and they include a variety of photographs, plans, newspaper cuttings and old engravings and paintings. It’s been amazing to see what sort of research has been done and the information that has been found from so many sources (even without the archives in Doncaster!). It’s been especially interesting to see how each nomination fits in with the assessment criteria and many have included surprising facts about how assets meet unexpected criteria, who would have thought an old cinema would have archaeological value!?

By far the best nominations are the ones that have been able to illustrate clearly how the asset meets all, or nearly all, the criteria, as these show a really well-rounded picture of the character of the asset and why it is so important to the local area. Here is a selection of some of our favourites, so far, from the brilliant nominations we have received.

If you’re a registered user of the website and have had a look at the list a few times now, you might have used the filtering options on the List page to find the assets that are most interesting to you. These are really handy for narrowing down the list to the sort of assets or geographical location you would like to know about most. However, there is one filter box that has caused some confusion and which you might not have made sense of yet, the ‘Filter by status’ box.

This filter allows you to look at the assets on the list based on what stage of the listing process they are at, from nomination, through assessment to being formally listed. Over the past couple of months we’ve had some questions on what the status levels mean from some confused users. This will probably not come as a surprise if you’ve ever looked at the bafflingly long list yourself! To remedy this, our blog this month is all about making sense of the status of assets and where they are along their listing journey.

The first thing to say about the ‘Filter by status’ box is that it only appears for registered users, if you’re just browsing the site without logging in, you won’t be able to search the list this way, so it’s worth logging in or registering to get the most out of the site.

What stages does an asset pass through on its way to being locally listed?

Before looking at what status an asset is, it’s worth recapping the stages that an asset goes through after it’s been identified by the nominator. The process of locally listing an asset has to include some important stages so that everyone can clearly see what and why assets have been added to the list. Here is the route an asset takes on its way to being locally listed:

1. Nomination – the asset is identified by a member of the public as being a place of historic importance and nominated using the form on the website.

2. Public consultation – after nomination, the asset will be added to the next round of public consultation. This means it will be open for comments and additional information to be submitted.

3. Assessment – at the end of the consultation period the Assessment Panel will consider all the candidates and whether they meet the selection criteria. All the candidates that meet the criteria will be recommended to the relevant local council for local listing.

4. Council Decision – The local council will look over the recommended candidates and will take the final decision on which ones will be locally listed.

5. Listed – all the candidates that were approved by the council then become locally listed heritage assets.

After the Christmas break, January is usually the month we start afresh with new activities or get back into old ones with renewed energy and enthusiasm, gym membership statistics highlight this every year! Well, the Local Heritage List is no exception! Since the beginning of January we have been going full steam ahead with the assessment process so our first trial candidates can be presented to the relevant local councils.

Our Blog this month is written by Marina Tenzer, a PhD researcher at the University of York. Her work has similarities and links with the Local Heritage List and gives you the opportunity to help out with her research.

What is your favourite place? Where do you feel a special connection or just enjoy being there? Why do you feel happy, safe, or at home in some places and not in others? All of these questions are subject of academic research in a field, where government agencies and heritage professionals work together with people from all walks of life for the public benefit. Similar to the creation of the local list, my research at the University of York aims to find out which places matter most to people and why, and what role heritage plays in this. As a resident of Sheffield, I have chosen Sheffield and the Peak District National Park as my study areas to explore the connections people have to the natural and cultural, rural and urban, tangible and intangible aspects of their everyday landscapes.