Guidance Print Conserving and enhancing the historic environment

Heritage consent processes

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Is listed building consent the same as planning permission?

Listed building consent and planning permission are two separate regimes.  So for some proposed works both planning permission and listed building consent will be needed and sometimes only one, or neither, is required.

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When is an application for planning permission required to carry out works to a listed building?

This will depend on the particular works involved, but in general terms:

  • an application for planning permission is required if the works would usually require a planning application if the building was not listed
  • an application for planning permission is not required if the works would normally be permitted development and there are no restrictions on the permitted development rights in respect of listed buildings and the permitted development rights have not been removed locally
  • an application for planning permission is not required if the works would not constitute ‘development’ e.g. internal works to listed buildings

The requirement for listed building consent is not the same as for planning permission. So for some proposed works both planning permission and listed building consent will be needed and sometimes only one, or neither, is required.

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When is listed building consent required?

Any works to demolish any part of a listed building or to alter or extend it in a way that affects its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest require listed building consent, irrespective of whether planning permission is also required. It is important to note that it may be a criminal offence to fail to apply for consent when it is required. For all grades of listed building, the listing status covers the entire building, internal and external, objects fixed to it and sometimes also attached and curtilage buildings or other structures.

Undertaking works, or causing works to be undertaken, to a listed building which would affect its character as a building of special historic or architectural interest, without first obtaining listed building consent is an offence under section 9 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.

There is no fee for submitting an application for listed building consent.

The requirement for listed building consent is not the same as for planning permission. So for some proposed works both planning permission and listed building consent will be needed and sometimes only one, or neither, is required.

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What is the impact of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 on the listed building consent regime? 

Various measures were included in the Act to simplify the listed building consent regime.  Once these changes come into effect – currently scheduled for April 2014:

  • local planning authorities will be able to enter into a statutory Heritage Partnership Agreement with the owner of a listed building.  Such an agreement may include the grant of listed building consent for specified works for the alteration or extension (but not demolition) of the building
  • the Secretary of State and local planning authorities will be able to grant a general listed building consent for works for the alteration or extension (but not demolition) of listed buildings by making either national consent orders (in the case of the Secretary of State) or local listed building consent orders (in the case of local planning authorities)
  • owners of listed buildings will be able to apply for a certificate of lawfulness to obtain formal confirmation from the local planning authority that the works for the alteration or extension (but not demolition) they are proposing do not require listed building consent.

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Is an application for planning permission required to carry out works to an unlisted building in a conservation area?

Planning permission is required for the demolition of certain unlisted buildings in conservation areas (known as ‘relevant demolition’) – see ‘When is permission required’ section of the guidance.

Generally the requirement for planning permission for other works to unlisted buildings in a conservation area is the same as it is for any building outside a conservation area, although some permitted development rights are more restricted in conservation areas. Further information in ‘When is permission required‘ section of guidance.

Demolishing an unlisted building in a conservation area, without first obtaining planning permission where it is needed, is an offence under section 196D of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

There is no fee for submitting an application for planning permission for the “relevant demolition” of certain unlisted buildings in conservation areas.

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What permissions/consents are needed for works to scheduled monuments and protected wreck sites?

Planning permission may be required for works to these kinds of designated heritage assets depending on whether they constitute ‘development’ and whether any permitted development rights apply.

Irrespective of any requirement to obtain planning permission, works to scheduled monuments may require scheduled monument consent and works relating to protected wreck sites may require licences. These consent/licence regimes are outside the planning system and are the responsibility of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) advised and administered by English Heritage. Further information on these regimes, including any consultation arrangements, can be found on the Department for Culture, Media and Sport’s website.

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What permissions/consents are needed for registered parks and gardens, and battlefields?

Registered parks and gardens and registered battlefields are subject to the usual requirements to obtain planning permission. As they are designated heritage assets, the policies on designated heritage assets in the National Planning Policy Framework apply both in relation to plan-making and decision-taking. As paragraph 132 of the National Planning Policy Framework makes clear, substantial harm to or loss of:

  • any designated heritage asset of the highest significance, which includes protected wreck sites, battlefields and grade I and II* parks and gardens, should be “wholly exceptional
  • any grade II park or garden should be “exceptional

Local authorities are required to consult English Heritage and The Garden History Society on certain applications for planning permission in respect of registered parks and gardens.

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