Listed Buildings - Lifting the Burden?

As part of the Government's drive to reduce the regulatory burden, it has come forward with a set of consultation proposals to simplify the listed building consent system. The intent is to reduce the instances where applications for listed building consent will be required. The aim is to enable local planning authorities to delivery a more efficient and effective service in relation to listed buildings, and to reduce the burden on developers/owners. The consultation is on the means to implement the flexibilities.

There are three principle measures which are being consulted upon :

Listed Building Heritage Partnership Agreements - The proposal is for listed building owners, that have a significant stock and who may carry out predictable and repetitive works to maintain the listed building, to enter into a partnership agreement with the local authority which will allow the works to proceed by a single consent mechanism which will operate for the life of the agreement.

Local Listed Building Consent Orders - The consultation proposes a procedure similar to a local development order where an area which has a prevalence of listed buildings may have the benefit of a consent order where certain categories of work are accepted as permitted development which do not in effect require a specific consent. This could extend to areas of a City with an historic core and a common building style, again with the aim of reducing the burden on owners having to apply for individual consents. Participating at an early stage in a local development order may ensure that the administrative burden of maintaining and carrying out works to listed buildings is considerably reduced.

Certificates of Lawfulness of Proposed Works - Section 61 of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 will allow certificates of lawfulness to be applied for in respect of proposed works to a listed building. In essence, this will enable owners to obtain a certificate that the works which they wish to undertake do not require listed building consent, because they do not affect the special architectural or historic interest of the building.

The Certificates will be available in respect of prospective works and valid for a period of 10 years from issue.

Again the measure is aimed at expediting and simplifying a system whereby a prospective owner/developer can get clear guidance as to whether a formal application for listed building consent will be required.

Whilst the primary legislation is in place, the consultation is merely on the administrative process to ensure the changes are implemented swiftly and in a way which can be easily managed. The proposal represents a real change and may provide simplification of the system to reduce the administrative burden of the maintenance and repair of listed buildings, on owners and developers.

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