Housing and planning minister John Healey has announced new guidelines for councils and developers to make the most of the nation’s historic assets such as Victorian stations.

The new Planning Policy Statement 15, which is accompanied by detailed guidance from English Heritage, sets out that councils and developers should use the historic environment to stimulate and inspire ‘new buildings and development of imaginative and high quality design’.

The policy said: ‘Councils need to monitor all their historic assets, from listed buildings, conservation areas, scheduled monuments and archaeological sites and landscapes.’

The government said some historic buildings, from theatres to churches, are decaying with age and require quick decisions to secure their future instead of being left in place unmaintained.

Healey said: ‘Our historic assets are hugely important for local people and for the tourist industry and we need to conserve and protect them for future generations.'