A statement from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) today said the department is to "challenge every single local authority across England to draw up lists of buildings of significant historical and cultural value to an area, ensuring important local monuments are no longer left neglected and unloved".
Currently, councils are not required to draw up lists of locally listed buildings. However, according to heritage watchdog Historic England, around half of all local planning authorities have produced lists of locally important buildings and sites.
A ‘locally listed building’ is a building, structure or feature which is felt by the council to be of local importance due to its architectural, historical or environmental significance.
Such buildings do not enjoy the levels of statutory protection afforded to nationally-listed buildings. However, local listing means that the interest of the building will be considered during the planning process.
Today’s MHCLG statement also said that, under its proposals, local people across ten English counties "will be empowered to nominate heritage buildings which are important to them and reflect their local area and identity".
The statement said that local people in these counties, which are yet to be named, would be "supported by a team of heritage experts, funded by £700,000" of government money.
Responding to a request from Planning on how the scheme would work, a spokeswoman for MHCLG said: "We want local communities and heritage groups to nominate buildings that are important to them and work with councils to agree which buildings deserve recognition."
Communities secretary Robert Jenrick said: "Today I’ve launched the most ambitious heritage preservation campaign for decades. This will empower local people to protect thousands of historic buildings and preserve them for future generations.
"Getting more buildings locally listed isn’t just about keeping a building intact – it keeps a community’s identity thriving."