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Streamlining Heritage Planning…but only in England

31st May, 2012

The draft Enterprise and Regulatory Bill was presented to Parliament on the 23rd May 2012.  One of its key aims is the “reduction of legislative burdens”. To that end it proposes, amongst other things, to streamline some aspects of heritage planning.

The Bill, if enacted, will bring the control of Conservation Area consents back into the planning system with the introduction of a new planning offence in the Town and Country Planning Act. The new provisions will make it an offence to demolish buildings within a Conservation Area without the necessary planning permission being in place.

The measures proposed also include a relaxation on the process for obtaining a certificate of immunity in respect of the prospect of the listing of a building as well as enabling a more refined description of any listed building included in the statutory list. This last proposal will allow the listing for a building to set out in detail what parts or features are not of special or historic interest or which are not to be treated as part of the building for the purposes of the Listed Buildings Act.

The proposals also include the power to enter into Heritage Partnership Agreements with the owner of a listed building to facilitate works and improvements to the building under an overarching arrangement to avoid the need to seek separate consents for the works.

In general the proposals are to be welcomed and will hopefully help planning authorities and owners to focus on the important task of protecting matters of special interest when works are proposed to listed buildings. The proposals are also supported by English Heritage who believes the reforms will “help deliver clearer and faster decisions, support timely understanding of the significance of heritage assets and potential development sites”.

As with most recent planning changes, these proposals will only relate to England unless they are also taken up by the Welsh Government.

If you need advice on listed buildings or other planning issues please contact us on 01244 405555.

 

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