The above Act unveiled a number of significant changes to the system for regulating works to Listed Buildings in England.
The Government has now published for consultation the draft regulations by which three of the key changes will be brought into force on 6 April 2014. These are:
- Heritage Partnership Agreements
- Local Listed Building Consents
- Certificates of Lawfulness
The consultation period runs from 16 December 2013 to 27 January 2014.
Heritage partnership agreements
If made in their current form, the regulations will not prescribe the form and content of Heritage Planning Agreements. The intention is that this should be left to the parties to agree on a case by case basis.
Instead, the regulations are concerned with the procedures that must be followed by the local planning authority ("LPA"), before and after an Agreement is entered into. These include requirements as to:
- preparation of a statement of reasons containing an assessment of the likely effect of proposed works on the special architectural or historical interest of the building and a reasoned justification for the proposed works
- undertaking not less than 28 days prior consultation with English Heritage ("EH") where the building in question has a grade I or II* listing
- making the draft Agreement and any related documents available for public inspection for at least 28 days and to publicise this fact on the LPA website and by way of site notice. In addition, formal notice must be served on any person who has a legal interest in the building who will not be a party to the Agreement
- sending a copy of any Agreement to EH as soon as reasonably practicable after it has been entered into
The LPA must take account of any representations that it receives as a result of the consultation process.
Local listed building consents
The draft regulations for Local Listed Building Consent Orders ("Orders"), deal with the procedures for the preparation, consultation and publicity of Orders and payment of compensation in certain circumstances where listed building consent is revoked or withdrawn.
Key points to note include:
- there will be no general exclusions as to what can be covered by an Order. This will be left to the discretion of each LPA
- The LPA must prepare a Statement of Reasons in relation to any draft Order containing an assessment of the likely effect of the proposed works on the special architectural or historical interest of the building and a reasoned justification for the proposed works
- The LPA must consult with EH before making an order. However, as with Heritage Planning Agreements, the duty to consult will only apply to orders affecting Grade I and II* listed buildings
- LPA's must publicise the making of an order on their website and by posting site notices and by writing the owner of every listed building affected by the Order.
- if an Order is withdrawn or revoked on less than 6 months notice, compensation will be payable to any individual who submits an application for listed building consent within 6 months of the Order having been withdrawn or revoked and consent is either refused or granted subject to conditions not imposed by the Order
Certificates of lawfulness
The draft regulations for certificates of lawfulness are intended to mirror, in many respects, the regulations that already exist for applying for Certificates of Lawfulness for Proposed Use or Development in the planning system.
The key proposals are for:
- a standard application form to be used
- no prescribed requirements for publicity or consultation
- applications to be determined within 6 weeks
- a right of appeal to the Secretary of State up to 6 months after the date of determination of an application by the LPA
The effect of the reforms
The consultation states that the intention behind the reforms is to simplify the listed building consent system. The measures under consultation are intended to reduce the instances in which applications for listed building consent will be required. The Government believes that, overall, this will reduce burdens on owners and developers, and allow local planning authorities which administer these consents to deliver a more efficient and effective service.
The consultation seeks responses to a number questions about the draft regulations, but in so doing it is noted that the heritage elements within the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act were subject to extensive consultation prior to inclusion in the Act. On this basis, the questions are directed to matters of procedure rather than the substance of the reforms. It is therefore likely that the regulations will be made as proposed and bring these changes to the heritage planning system into effect on 6 April 2014
Details of changes to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 are summarised in our earlier article "Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act: Changes to heritage planning"