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Communal value

Definition: The importance of a place, site or asset to people’s collective identity. This value relates to our emotional attachment to place and how we relate to it. It can be found in many forms, including:

Symbolic or commemorative – a tangible depiction of collective celebration or grief, or as a representation of local identity and history, such as war memorials, statues, historic representations of town emblems.

Social – links to the traditions or social practices of a community or place, such as a church, pub or institutional building

Spiritual – the spirit of place, which can be religious but can be anywhere that embodies the beliefs of the individual or community.

Factors that might affect the level of the value include:

  • the longevity of a tradition or practice’s connection to the asset
  • the ability for the asset to draw together a community
  • the strength of recognition of the asset as a source or emblem of local identity
  • rarity
  • authenticity
  • landmark status

For example, the site in the image below is well used as recreational space by residents and visitors, with public footpaths providing access along the river as well as through some of the meadows. Although much of this importance is related to their amenity value, their contribution to the character, history and local distinctiveness is also recognised locally, as was evident in the reaction to a proposed building development in their vicinity.

Recreational space showing a river, track and grassy fields

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