The Government’s white paper, “Planning for the future” has been a cause of contention both in the heritage sector and across the whole of society. This reflects the sheer complexity involved in planning reform, and the wide range of issues that are impacted by it. Listed buildings are a particular challenge, as listing impacts both the building itself, and those around it.
The Government’s aim in the white paper was to try and move away from a single national policy and instead focus on more local decision making. The white paper offers a more standard way to make local plans, but leaves it to local councils to make the decisions themselves.
This is both a blessing and a curse for listed building owners. National policy is often too vague to be useful to individual owners, either when making their own applications or commenting on others. However, local policy is quite patchy and can make it harder for owners to understand what to expect in their local area.
The Club contributed to the Government consultation on the white paper, and provided feedback from our members on both sides of the issue. We drew particular attention to concerns that the aim to increase the speed of the planning system might erode the ability of local people to be involved, and as a result diminish the protection that listing offers. We also voiced support for attempts to make new development more sympathetic with their surrounding buildings, both listed and non-listed. Finally we repeated the need to fund the planning system and ensure that the resources and expertise are available.
To read the full story, see the latest issue of Listed Heritage, the Club’s 160 page bi-monthly magazine. Every issue includes a dedicated section on our lobbying efforts, as well as news, features and technical guidance from across the heritage sector.
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