Harlaxton Village Design Statement

Church St

Approved as a Position Statement by South Kesteven District Council, October 2004


Setting the scene


Community Guidelines

Landscape and Wildlife

Landscape and Wildlife Guidelines


Settlement Guidelines

Buildings - Houses, Cottages and Bungalows

Buildings - Wells, Chimneys and Walls

Buildings - Public Amenities

Building Guidelines


Setting the scene

The Village Design Statement describes Harlaxton as it is today and highlights the qualities and characteristics that local people value in the village and its surroundings. It should be consulted before and during any planning for change.

The Statement has been written by Harlaxton residents so that local knowledge, views and ideas may contribute to the continuing prosperity of the village and to the high quality of its environment.

The aim is to ensure that further development and change, based on a considered understanding of the village’s past and present, will contribute positively to the future of Harlaxton and protect and enhance its unique features.

How will it work?

This document has been approved as a Position Statement by South Kesteven District Council. The guidelines contained in this statement will be used in the consideration of planning applications for Harlaxton. It is intended that the document will be approved and included within the Council’s new Local Development Framework (LDF) as a Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) at an appropriate stage in the future.

Who is it for?

Change is brought about, not only by large developments, but also by the smaller day-to-day adjustments to homes and gardens, open spaces, paths hedges and walls, which alter the look and feel of the whole village. The Statement is therefore addressed to:

  • householders and businesses
  • planners, developers, builders, architects, designers and engineers
  • statutory bodies and public authorities
  • local community groups.


Harlaxton has been a village community for over 900 years. The earliest known reference to Harlaxton is in the Domesday Book dated 1086 A.D. in which it was called Herlavestune. The present character of the village was considerably influenced by George de Ligne Gregory who held the Manor for 64 years, from 1758 until his death in 1822. He has left a permanent mark with the restoration of the original houses in the village and along the Drift.

The letters G.D.G with dates between 1790 and 1820, which are still visible today, record that these houses, previously of wattle and daub, were given a new and lasting lease of life with an outside wall of a special dark red brick.

In 1822 Gregory Gregory (formerly Gregory Williams) succeeded to the estate and for reasons not entirely clear, built the new Harlaxton Manor which is presently owned by the University of Evansville. Today, many of the American students attending Harlaxton Manor take the opportunity of sampling life in an English rural community by participating in the University’s ‘Meet a Family’ scheme.

Harlaxton enters the 21st century as a sought after village in which to live. Set in woodland and surrounded by farmland, its mix of old and unique houses together with newer designs, creates a tranquil and peaceful environment. This pleasant environment is enhanced by many mature trees, dry stone walls, well tended gardens and a busy duck pond.

At present Harlaxton has a thriving Village Store, a Post Office, Surgery and pharmacy, Sports and Social Club, Bowls Club, Village Hall, Church and School, all of which are greatly valued and combine to enhance the village’s community spirit. Harlaxton is home to many younger families but the older and retired villagers make up the larger part of the community and change is viewed with some trepidation. There is little enthusiasm amongst the general community for any major development within the village or its surrounding area which could alter the unique character of this conservation village.

Community Guidelines

The District and Parish Council, Developers and Planners should have regard for the views of the community.

Future development

The community of Harlaxton is opposed to any major development within the village or its surroundings. However, there is some support for a small development of sheltered housing for older residents, who wish to stay in the village but find their present properties difficult to manage.

Village facilities

There is strong support for the Village Store, Post Office and Surgery. All efforts should be encouraged to maintain and enhance these valued services. The school is considered a valuable community asset but the volume of traffic in the morning and evening raises concern regarding safety.


The village stone walls are greatly valued by the community. A number are specifically designated as listed buildings and listed building consent would be required for their alteration or demolition. Others enjoy a degree of protection due to their location within the conservation area. Advice should be sought from the District Council before undertaking any alterations.

Landscape and Wildlife

The landscape is greatly enhanced by a castle, a canal and many fine trees.

Described in “Whites” Lincolnshire of 1856 as “ A handsome village....” Harlaxton is situated in a pleasant rural setting in a hollow to the west of the Lincoln Cliff. Viewed from the A607 the Church and Harlaxton Manor are set against the wooded backdrop of the Cliff edge.

The ancient market town of Grantham lies to the east while gently undulating farmland is predominant to the north, south and west, where Belvoir Castle can be seen sitting some 400ft up on a spur of Blackberry Hill.

To the North of Harlaxton village the twisty, deeply rural Grantham Canal winds its way past medieval pasture, giving escarpment views as well as passing through more wooded sections as it follows the contours of the Vale of Belvoir.


The wide range of habitat in the Parish comprising arable and pasture land, woodland, lake, canal and reservoir gives rise to a correspondingly wide range of plants, insects and birds. Songbirds are abundant in village gardens and owls are heard at night. Some of the farmland was exploited for iron ore and although the land was restored to agriculture the effect on diversity is still evident. Probably the most important feature of the habitat is the large acreage of 'unimproved' grassland which has a great variety of grasses and meadow plants. The distribution of fauna is heavily influenced by the management of some of the farms for shooting and the provision of feed for gamebirds is beneficial to many other species of birds. Foxes and badgers are often seen but deer are infrequent visitors. The canal and reservoir are stocked with coarse fish and are the homes for a variety of wildfowl.

Landscape and Wildlife Guidelines

New development and alterations to existing property should give high priority to landscape design, especially where it could affect public views in and out of the village.

Action by developers, landowners, community groups and individuals.

  • In the case of significant landscape developments or changes, a professional design scheme should be prepared for consultation.
  • Plant native species to retain landscape character and to benefit wildlife within the village and its surroundings where possible.
  • Ensure alterations and additions to existing buildings preserve public views of landscape and that the traditional village shape is retained.
  • The Church is a prominent feature of the village skyline and should remain so. Future development should not create a strong visual impact but should blend into the existing skyline.
  • Existing verges should be maintained and preserved as an essential contribution to the character and ecology of the village.
  • Existing mature trees and hedges should be preserved or replaced with native species to maintain the landscape and provide habitat for wildlife.


It is likely that there has been a settlement in Harlaxton since Roman times; an urn containing burnt bones and Roman coins was found in 1740 in the vicinity of the old moated manor house. The remains of the moat can still be seen on the south and east boundaries of the gardens to the south of Rectory Lane.

The old Manor was an ancient structure purchased by the De Ligne family around 1475 and demolished in 1857. George de Ligne Gregory hadby then commissioned the architect Anthony Salvin to start work on the new Harlaxton Manor.

Most of the existing older houses were built as part of the estate and formed around a circular road pattern, the ‘new’ cottages were built mainly of brick and are said to have incorporated some of the stone details from the original manor house. Until the end of the first World War most villagers were employed and housed by the estate.

After the first World War, with the advances in After the second World War additional housing inn (the Gregory Arms) on the north side, with transport and the availability of better paid work, developments on both sides of the A607 began the Church, Harlaxton Manor and the greater part many left to find employment elsewhere. and the village grew slowly in size and population. of the dwellings to the south side.

The ownership of property changed dramatically Today, Harlaxton is a pleasant rural village nestling The wooded landscape within which the village in 1937 when the estate was broken up and most in a hollow to the west of the Lincoln limestone lies is enhanced by the preservation of open of the houses in the village were sold separately. cliff. The A607 Grantham to Melton Mowbray farmland to the south side of the A607 road divides the village in two, leaving the village

Settlement Guidelines

The street layout, views, and the access to public open spaces create the distinctive character of the village and should be preserved wherever possible. Developers and planners should recognise this and pay particular attention to ensuring that:

  • the traditional streets and verges are retained and not upgraded in a way which would encourage their use by heavy traffic.
  • infill developments and extensions to existing properties maintain gaps which provide public views within the village and into surrounding countryside
  • the network of footpaths is retained and improved where possible
  • the existing approaches and views of the village are protected
  • the destruction of existing trees is avoided and new ones are planted wherever possible
  • existing public open spaces are retained
  • street lighting and furniture is in keeping with the older parts of the village.

Buildings -Houses, Cottages and Bungalows

“The village can boast quite a number of crazily detailed cottages.......” Nikolaus Pevsner, Architectural Historian (1902 - 1983).

Many old buildings and an interesting mix of newer houses and bungalows, with their tidy and well kept gardens, most of which are set well back from the roads, create an attractive settlement. The older properties, having been modified somewhat in the nineteenth century as the result of the influence and direction of the Gregory Family, blend comfortably with the newer buildings into a village of great appeal. Whilst the older core buildings at the centre of the village are mostly built of red brick, some with stone window surrounds and mullions, smaller stone cottages coexist with them and are complemented by the newer infill properties mainly built of a more mellow brick. Within the village conservation area there are thirty-six Grade II and one Grade I (the Church) listed structures. Additional houses and bungalows built in the 1960s and 1970s on four separate housing estates together give a range of different types of accommodation and all are owner occupied. The six Local Authority Houses built in the 1950s are, with one exception also now in private ownership.

Buildings -Wells, Chimneys and Walls

Until the connection of the village to a piped central water supply in the late 1940s, villagers obtained their water from wells, some of which have been preserved and, together with the distinctive chimneys on many of the older properties, add to the overall attractiveness of the village.

The village scene is further enhanced by the distinctive stone walls surrounding so many of the older properties, many of which enclose gardens of considerable charm: a setting which has subsequently been emulated by many of the newer properties.

Buildings -Public Amenities

The public amenities buildings of the village include the Village Hall, Post Office, Village Store, Sports and Social Club, Primary School and Doctors’ Surgery. The latter three were built during the third quarter of the last century. The Village Hall, erected as a memorial to the men of the village who served in the first World War, has been partially modernised, further improvements are planned with special emphasis on facilities for the disabled.

The local inn for many years had been the Golden Lion, housed in the premises now known as Wyggeston Farm. The story relates that the Squire, John Sherwin Gregory, returning from church on Sunday, felt upset at seeing his villagers drinking their pints of ale outside the public house. He therefore had a new inn built on the main road called The Gregory Arms.

Building Guidelines

  • New Developments, infilling and changes to existing buildings should have regard to the general village style and in particular to the building style in the immediate area.
  • Alterations and Maintenance
  • When properties are renovated, extended or maintained, materials sympathetic to the original design should be used.
  • Roofs should be preserved or reinstated in the same style and materials where appropriate.
  • The style and materials used for replacement doors and windows should match those of the original building: size should be in the correct proportion to the facade.
  • Brickwork and stonework should be retained or where necessary matched to its original state, repointing should use appropriately coloured mortars. Sandblasting is not recommended as it can seriously damage the surface.
  • Stone walls on property edges should be maintained and repaired so that the outer face retains the character of the original.

New Developments

  • New buildings should acknowledge their Harlaxton context, avoiding pattern-book designs and reflect the following specific requirements.
  • Refer to local settlement patterns.
  • Do not alter existing building lines without considering the resulting effect.
  • Respect the local characteristics and context of the particular site.
  • Construction materials and building size should blend in with surrounding properties as closely as possible.
  • Respond to typical settings and garden forms: avoid large areas of hard surfacing.
  • Houses should be no higher than two storeys, with Drawings, computer images and artists impressions to justify how the proposed developments or alterations would blend with the surrounding buildings should be provided.

Published by Harlaxton Parish Council after public consultation and with funding assistance from the Countryside Agency under the Vital Villages Programme.