‘Inadequate’ reform threatens heritage protection system, says CLA

22 October 2013

The CLA has said new Government measures to improve listed building consent will not be enough to save the failing heritage protection system.

The Association, whose members look after more than a quarter of all heritage in England and Wales, said clauses currently in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill after a public consultation by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) are insufficient.

CLA President Harry Cotterell said: "While we welcome and support these changes, they are not nearly enough to solve the problem. "Heritage experts in local authorities have been cut by a third in the past six years. As numbers fall, the current system faces progressive collapse. Consent for the sympathetic changes that heritage needs if it is to be used and valued in future is becoming ever more difficult. This puts our heritage under ever-increasing threat."

Mr Cotterell said successive governments seemed to have been in denial about the extent of the problem. He said: "By picking up the Government proposals in the Penfold Review, but adding none of the essential detail on how they could be implemented, DCMS seems to have set its consultation up to fail. 

"It is not difficult to find solutions to make the system work and contribute to better regulation and growth while also protecting our heritage much better than at present. The Government needs to talk to key stakeholders and adopt effective reforms which will get the system working properly and protect our heritage more effectively."

Read the CLA's policy report on how to reform the heritage protection system Averting Crisis in Heritage.