The OGT aims to promote the conservation of the county’s parks, gardens and other designed landscapes, both through the planning system and by advising owners and others involved in the management of these sites.
There are 55 sites in the county on the English Heritage Register of Historic Parks and Gardens and many others of local interest. A review of historic parks and Gardens in the county was carried out by Colvin and Moggeridge in 1997. Their report identified 185 sites of special interest, either nationally or at county level.
The OGT and Planning
Members of the OGT committee have a wide range of expertise and local knowledge which can be drawn on in assessing and commenting on planning applications and local plans. The Trust can assist local planning authorities when they are considering applications for developments that are likely to have impact upon a registered historic park or garden or other designed landscape. Details of planning applications are available on the websites of the five local government districts in the county. See links below the map.
Working with the Garden History Society
The Garden History Society is a statutory consultee in relation to planning proposals which affect registered parks and gardens. When a planning authority receives a planning application which affects a site on the Register, or the setting of such a site, it must consult the Society. Increasingly, the Garden History Society and the Association of Gardens Trusts are working together on planning matters. The OGT is seeking to expand its activities in this area, especially by monitoring applications which affect registered sites in the county, and advising local planning authorities on their impact.
The GHS and the AGT have a joint Historic Landscape Project which is funded by English Heritage until 2015. Click here for more details This is helping county gardens trusts throughout England to develop their involvement in planning and conservation activities, including a more active role in the planning system.
Landscapes at risk
English Heritage maintains a national Heritage at Risk Register, which includes details of designated heritage assets at risk. Although none of the registered parks and gardens in Oxfordshire is currently deemed to be ‘at risk’, there are a number of individual listed garden structures which are included in the Register. There are also many unregistered parks and gardens in the county which may be at risk of development or neglect. The original function of these landscapes has often changed; and divided ownership can easily lead to the loss of their original character. The OGT’s project on walled kitchen gardens has highlighted the loss of many of the county’s gardens in the course of the last century.
How the OGT can help
The OGT can offer advice to schools, community and volunteer groups in managing or creating gardens and landscape features. For example, the Trust can put owners in touch with experts on specific aspects of landscape analysis, conservation or management. In some cases modest financial contributions can be made to encourage others to build up the necessary funds.