Saturday, 19 August 2017

New legislation for conservation

OWNING a listed building can start off as a romantic idea — and end up as a red tape headache,

OWNING a listed building can start off as a romantic idea — and end up as a red tape headache, writes Jacky Hayler.

Now owners, managers and developers of historically important property in the UK are to benefit from new heritage legislation, according to a planning and design consultancy.

Turley Associates claims that legislation in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, which was introduced at the end of April, will make life easier and provide greater certainty for those making changes to listed buildings.

The new legislation comes exactly 100 years after the introduction of the very first piece of true legislation designed to protect buildings of historical importance, the Ancient Monuments Amendment and Consolidation Act of 1913. Measures contained within the act include new heritage partner agreements which will allow owners of protected buildings to enter into an agreement with a local authority that sets out which works are allowable without the need for separate listed building consents.

New list entry descriptions will allow owners to be more specific regarding the nature and extent of the listing when making changes, while the introduction of certificates of lawful proposed works, which are to be issued by a local planning authority, will categorically confirm that the works described do not affect the character of a listed building, meaning that consent is not needed.

Another provision removes the need for conservation area consent for the demolition or substantial demolition of buildings in a conservation area, meaning this now falls under the remit of planning control, making it a legal offence to demolish a building in a conservation area without planning permission.

Roger Mascall, director of heritage at Turley Associates, greeted the changes with open arms.

“These changes are most welcome and will assist in the proactive management and conservation of listed buildings,” he told Property Wire.

“More importantly, the new regulations recognise that all parties need some degree of certainty when looking to manage change to protected buildings.”

However, Turley Associates points out that further guidance and secondary legislation is needed before many of these measures introduced in the Act can be fully adopted.

Therefore owners, managers and developers of listed buildings should continue to seek advice before embarking on works to such buildings.

Jane Henshaw, Strutt & Parker’s head of building surveying, believes that the ease on restrictions will be benefit property owners.

She comments: “The new heritage agreements will make it easier for owners of protected buildings to join forces with a local authority and set out which works are permissible without the need for separate listed building consents from English Heritage.

“This is particularly valuable for larger estates with a number of protected buildings that need to be refurbished on a regular basis.

“We are currently carrying out minor works on a Grade II listed property where English Heritage need to be informed through curtilage — and this is often unnecessary as it is for minor works.”

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