UK Legislation Proposed
The Planning Bill 2007-08 Update
Link to CBA
From DCMS archive 2004
28 June 2004
Looking Forward To The Past: Heritage Minister Sets Out The Future For Heritage Protection
Important new rights for owners of period property, including statutory consultation and a new right of appeal, were unveiled today by Heritage Minister Andrew McIntosh. The package, which will include the creation of a new 'super register' of all protected buildings, monuments, parks, gardens and battlefields, marks the most fundamental programme of reform that Britain's heritage protection regime has undergone. The results of the recent public consultation on the subject, which drew views from over 500 individuals and organisations, were also announced.
Andrew McIntosh said:
"Our current system of heritage protection is second to none. If it did not exist, the landscape of England today would be a vastly different, and infinitely poorer one. But improvements can be made. There is too much overlap between safeguards that have built up over time, and not enough transparency. We need a more open, more effective system. We need to enable and manage change where necessary to ensure that old buildings and public spaces are put to productive new uses, while retaining a robust level of protection for our historic assets. We need to breathe new life into an old regime."
The primary changes will include:
A new unified "Register of Historic Sites and Buildings of England" bringing together listing, scheduling and registration and incorporating World Heritage Sites. It will also contain a "local section" recording conservation areas, local lists and registers.
85% of respondents to the public consultation believed that a unified list would improve existing arrangements.
The transfer of responsibility for making designation decisions at national level to English Heritage, subject to certain important new safeguards:
English Heritage will be required to act within published Government policies and criteria for designation.
The Secretary of State will retain a power to call in exceptional cases for her decision.
Owners will have a new statutory right of appeal.
English Heritage will be required to give an annual account of activities against the published policies and criteria.
90% of respondents agreed that English Heritage should assume responsibility for maintaining the List. 87% agreed there should be a right of appeal.
The introduction of public consultation in respect of applications to list, promoting transparency and openness. A new interim protection order will be placed on each asset until a decision is made.
96% of respondents supported plans to make the listing process more open. 99% agreed that interim protection should be applied.
The unification of listed building consent with scheduled monument consent to create a simplified, integrated heritage consent, administered by local authorities. Government will also consider further recent research into the unification of consent regimes, including the possible the integration of conservation area consent and planning permission with the new heritage consent.
90% of respondents felt that a new consent regime should be as simple as possible.
Andrew McIntosh continued:
"In light of the overwhelming public support shown in consultation, the Government has concluded that Ministers should make policy, not act as case-by-case decision makers. Subject to real safeguards, like the right of appeal, the introduction of English Heritage to this role will bring a much improved clarity and accountability to the new system."
Implementation of the above measures will require primary legislation. The Government intends to seek Parliamentary time at the first opportunity, likely to be 2006/7. Meanwhile, English Heritage's wide-ranging pilot project programme will provide an invaluable opportunity to explore fully these proposals in practice, and ensure that the details are right prior to primary legislation.
At the same time, an additional series of measures aimed at immediately improving the everyday experience of heritage protection will be introduced without legislation, some as early as April 2005. These will include:
A review of the criteria for listing buildings by DCMS and English Heritage. Proposals will be consulted on later this year.
The assumption of the day-to-day administration of the system (but not designation decisions) by English Heritage from April 2005. Changes to the list will be subject to the approval of the Secretary of State.
The creation of a comprehensive pack for owners, including a "summary of importance" setting out the reasons for listing, a map which indicates the extent of listing, and general information on designation and seeking planning consent.
Andrew McIntosh concluded:
"The Government wants to make it easier for the owners and tenants of heritage properties to take pride in their conservation and care. One way to do this is to provide better information about what makes their property special and how to keep it in good condition. We want to open up the system by offering a one-stop shop for applications and enquiries, providing information in a clear and comprehensible form, and offering the opportunity to request a review of listing decisions. Taken as a whole, the proposed new system will allow us to work in closer partnership with others, making it easier to safeguard the past and build for the future."
Simon Thurley, Chief Executive of English Heritage said:
"English Heritage welcomes the government's decision to implement major reform of the heritage protection system. Having worked in partnership with the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on its review, we now look forward to leading the introduction of the reforms that will create a modern, positive and comprehensive framework for the management of the historic environment.
"The new system will give English Heritage additional roles and enhanced responsibilities. We are confident we shall rise to the challenges they bring and are committed to working with all our partners to ensure that the transition to the new arrangements over the next few years is delivered efficiently and effectively."
NOTES TO EDITORS
The Government's review of heritage protection legislation was conceived as a response to issues raised over time about the way the historic environment was being protected. A project was set up to examine the issues in depth. A massive fact-finding exercise was instituted across the sector and beyond through regional seminars, individual interviews and focus groups. Early soundings taken in the pre-consultation period made it clear that, for many stakeholders, the current heritage protection systems were complex. New protections had been added piecemeal over time. Few people, even amongst those working with the systems on a daily basis, had a clear grasp of all parts of the legislation and unsurprisingly there were inconsistencies in its interpretation. A system was needed which was more simple and transparent to the general public and other key stakeholders but which maintained at least the same level of protection for historic assets.
The information gained from the pre-consultation phase led to a set of proposals for change. These proposals were set out in the consultation document Protecting the historic environment: Making the system work better, launched in July 2003. Throughout the consultation period a further series of seminars for key stakeholders and other interests discussed the proposals and how they might work. In addition, a number of working groups, which included historic environment and legal experts, examined the proposals to see how they might work in practice and any potential problems.
The Government received over 500 substantive and thoughtful responses to the public consultation exercise.
ODPM is publishing today a report by the Halcrow Group Ltd on the Unification of Consent Regimes. The report and a summary are available at www.odpm.gov.uk/planningresearch.
Press Enquiries: 020 7211 6272/76
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Public Enquiries: 020 7211 6200
How will it make a difference?
Heritage Protection Case Studies
Hospitals, Schools and Other Public Buildings
Heritage Assets on Agricultural Land
Hospitals, Schools and Other Public Buildings
Problem: A listed hospital complex or school may face an urgent need to update existing facilities that do not meet modern day standards. There may also be great pressure to maximise space and use the site efficiently. However list descriptions can be unclear regarding which features are most important and should be retained. The need for repetitive consent applications can make long term planning for the site difficult.
The solution: A new way of working. Under the new system a comprehensive pack for owners will be produced, including a site map and a "summary of importance" highlighting what is notable about the site, and why, and identifying particular areas of sensitivity. If appropriate, the site could be protected under a management agreement, where English Heritage would work in partnership with the owners to establish an advance understanding of important buildings and features and what could be changed without special consent. Bureaucracy could be reduced by agreeing simple, repeat requests for maintenance that would usually require Listed Building Consent.
Good for the Public Services: The new system will provide owners and site managers with a greater degree of clarity and certainty regarding the building's future management, and allow for long term strategic planning in a busy and pressured environment. A management agreement could offer a greater degree of flexibility by anticipating a programme of work and agreeing a solution beforehand.
Good for Heritage: Setting them out in summary of importance and possibly a management agreement will ensure that owners and site managers have a clear understanding of their responsibilities. Working together and coming to a joint agreement will allow owners to know more about their heritage assets and encourage their 'buy-in' to protection.
Problem: Currently, home-owners may not know that their building is under consideration for listing until they are informed of the outcome. That decision documentation is not comprehensive, may not be easy to understand, and there is no formal appeal process.
The solution: Under the new system, when a private home is put forward for designation there will be an opportunity for consultation with the home-owner, enabling them to comment on the application and to submit their own evidence if they so wish (at which time any issues and worries can be discussed and ideally resolved). Once the building is registered, the owner will be sent a comprehensive 'owners pack', which will clearly state why the building is listed and what are its particularly important features. A map will be included which will show the extent of the designation. Owners will also receive details on who to contact for further advice, and the implications of owning a registered property, with details of how to seek a formal review or appeal. This will ensure a greater degree of clarity and openness for owners than under the current system.
Good for Home-Owners: The new system will provide owners with a new right of appeal and opportunities for consultation. An 'owners pack' will offer much improved information about their heritage property and make it easier for owners to negotiate the system.
Good for Heritage: The Government believes that owners are more likely to take pride in conserving their property if they are better informed both about what makes it important and how best to keep it in good condition.
Heritage Assets on Agricultural Land
Problem: On a working farm there may be multiple items designated in different ways, for example listed buildings and scheduled archaeological sites. Current agri-environment schemes can conflict with the management of the historic environment.
The solution: Under the new system, multiple designations on one site could be combined into one list entry, with a single set of documentation, putting the entire site in context. A management agreement could be used to combat potential conflicts with agri-environment schemes by flagging these up and allowing complementary regimes for sensible land use while at the same time giving due consideration to items of archaeological importance and the pressures created by modern farming practices. Management agreements could be aligned with the farm's projected development plan and any issues arising could be discussed and resolved in a manner satisfactory to all parties.
Good for Farmers: The new system will offer a greater degree of clarity and certainty for farm manager/owners and will provide an opportunity to discuss the implications, and agree a reasonable approach, to conflicting interests. This will greatly assist owners who often have to manage land with overlapping historic environment and nature conservation designations.
Good for Heritage: The creation of a single integrated consent regime for the historic environment, together with the option of statutory management agreements responsive to nature conservation objectives, will permit far more effective alignment of nature and heritage conservation in land management activity.