Conservation consent system to be simplified

The requirement to seek conservation area consent when demolishing unlisted buildings in a conservation area is to be removed as part of plans to reduce the costs associated with the heritage protection system, the government has announced.

In a document setting out measures to streamline consents that have to be obtained separately from planning permission to complete a development, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) said that the change would be introduced "subject to parliamentary time".

Currently, conservation area consent is required when demolishing unlisted buildings in a conservation area, along with a separate planning permission for a new development.

But the government said that, in order to "reduce the paperwork involved", only a single planning permission would be required for such work in the future, covering both the demolition and rebuilding work. The document says: "It will reduce complexity in the system by removing a separate consent regime."

In a statement, built environment conservation adviser English Heritage said: "The simplification will create a more straightforward system and, subject to some important safeguards, will not reduce protection for the historic environment in practice if the change is properly legislated for."

In the document, BIS also says that, subject to parliamentary time, the government would legislate to enable the extent of a listed building's special interest to be legally defined in its list entry.

Developers currently have to apply for listed building consent, even if the work they intend to carry out does not affect the parts of a building that contribute to its special interest.

The government said that the change would remove the requirement to apply for a consent for works that affect other parts of the building.

But Roger Mascall, head of heritage at consultancy Turley Associates, said: "How is that going to be done? There are 375,000 listed buildings in England. For each one to have its entry rewritten is quite a mammoth undertaking. For some buildings, you would in effect be writing a book."

Implementation of the Penfold Review is available via Planning Resource.co.uk/go/referencesection

Key Measures

- The government will enable the extent of a listed building's special interest to be legally defined in its list entry

- English Heritage will update the list entries of listed buildings

- The requirement for conservation area consent when demolishing unlisted buildings in a conservation area will be removed

- The government will consult on options for introducing a system of prior approval for specified types of work to listed buildings

- A consultation will be issued on ways of allowing certification of applications for listed building consent by independent agents.


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Join the conversation with PlanningResource on social media

Follow Us:
Planning Jobs