Consultation on PPS15, drafted by the DCLG and English Heritage, closed this week. Fears have been voiced that the document may allow too much subjectivity in decisions (Planning, 31 July, p4).
Knight Frank planning partner Martin Fellows said that although the paper looks to raise heritage considerations at all stages of the process, the lack of clarity on how it defines an asset's significance is a major defect.
"It suggests that the more significant the asset the greater the degree of protection it will be afforded," he added. "However, this is very seldom a definable and objective view."
National Trust spokeswoman Olivia Morris said: "We are concerned about the resource implications of planning decisions based on significance. The understanding, skills and time required to get this right will be hard on local authorities."
English Heritage policy director Duncan McCallum said he hopes that the policy statement will be issued as soon as possible because it is "already overdue".