News & Insights

New rules for owners of listed buildings

The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 has simplified part of the heritage protection system in England.  If you own or rent a listed building, Michael Higgin offers an overview of the new law.

These are the key points in the new legislation:

1.  The official list designating the property as a listed building can now provide that certain objects or structures which are part of a building, or within its boundaries, are not to be treated as listed.

2.  “Heritage Partnership Agreements” can now be made whereby listed building consent is granted for the carrying-out of specified works or classes of works subject to specified terms and conditions.  Thus, owners of large listed buildings  will now be able to agree a management framework with the local planning authority so that future alterations will not need repeated applications for consent.

3.  “Certificates of immunity” from listing can now be applied for at any time and not only when a planning application is submitted, or planning permission is granted.  The certificates are a guarantee that a building will not be listed for a period of five years following the date of the certificate and mean that the local planning authority cannot serve a building preservation notice within that timescale.  This is helpful because it means that a pre-emptive application can be made for immunity before a planning application is worked-up and before the professional fees and application fees are paid for a planning application.

4.  Most significantly, the Act effectively merges conservation area consent into the planning permission system.  Consideration of proposals to demolish buildings in conservation areas will be dealt with as part of the application for planning consent.

5.  Finally, it is now a criminal offence to fail to obtain planning permission for the demolition of buildings in a conservation area, or not to comply with any planning condition attached to such a planning permission.  Unlike the usual sanctions for development without planning permission or in breach of condition, there is no time limit on when enforcement action can be taken for the breach of these requirements.