CLA welcomes heritage reform proposals

07 October 2013

The CLA has welcomed proposals to improve the struggling heritage protection system, announced by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) as part of the Penfold Review.

CLA President Harry Cotterell said: "CLA members manage a quarter of heritage in England and Wales and the Association has rightly highlighted the crisis the heritage consent system finds itself in. Many of the recommendations made in our recent policy paper, Averting Crisis in Heritage, are included in the new proposals."

Heritage Minister John Penrose said the new initiative aims to "make the system quicker, clearer and simpler to use, without weakening overall levels of heritage protection". 

Mr Cotterell said: "Local authorities do not have the skilled staff needed to deal with the thousands of listed building consent and other heritage applications currently produced each year. The sympathetic change heritage needs to keep it valued and relevant to the future has become much too hard to achieve. But unsympathetic change is too easy because many people ignore the system. These proposals are about moving to risk-based regulation and focusing resources on what matters most."

The CLA President added: "It is vital the proposals boost the effectiveness of heritage protection, so the details will matter. We will play a full part in working this through with other stakeholders."

Proposals from BIS suggest prior approval and self-certification for listed building consent, meaning local authority resources can be focused on the small minority of applications which might cause real harm, and not on the high proportion which are beneficial and non-controversial. Other, more technical proposals require legislation such as better defining the "special interest" of listed buildings, allowing Statutory Management Agreements and extending Certificates of Immunity.

Details of the proposals are in the November 2011 BIS Implementation of the Penfold Review statement at: www.bis.gov.uk/assets/biscore/better-regulation/docs/i/11-1413-implementation-of-penfold-review.pdf