A conservation plan is a document which explains the significance of a site, and how that significance will be retained in any future use, management, alteration, or repair of the site. Conservation plans are intended to describe what is there, why it matters, what is happening to it, and the principles drawn on to manage the place, and only then sets out work programmes and other actions for maintenance, uses and other matters.
Conservation plans are driven by the need to understand why a place is important, and provides a framework to manage a place so that its cultural significance is not lost. Conservation plans are prepared by multi-disciplinary teams to ensure all significant elements and the relationships between them are identified. The methodological approach is research to understand the values of a place, which is crystallised in a Statement of Significance. The next phase is the identification of how that significance may be vulnerable. Once the threats are identified, policies can be formulated. The main outcome of a conservation plan is a comprehensive set of policies which should guide the future management of a place.