Listed Building Consent

There can be few laws in England that are so widely ignored and abused as the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, section 7, relating to receiving listed building consent for works which affect the character of a listed building“.

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The IHBC Conservation Wiki considers how Listed Building Consent might be reformed. Eyebrows might be raised about some of the suggestions. The article itself acknowledges as much. However, we suspect that there will be general consensus on the reasons why the system is abused:

  • Ignorance. Owners of listed buildings – and sometimes their professional advisors – are simply not aware of what is affected by listed building regulation. And in most cases there is no effective monitoring or controlling mechanism that will allow the local planning authority to become aware of what is happening.
  • Deliberate disregard by professionals. If a builder chooses to carry out works that affect a listed building, particularly anything internal or anything not that visible to the public, who is going to stop them? Once gone, any historic fabric can never be effectively replaced, even if it were known what was there before.
  • Deliberate disregard by private owners. This may be because they have had a poor service from the local planning authority previously and are unwilling to go through such a process again, with the consequent expense and time delays that may be involved. They might cite similar works done by neighbours who did not apply for consent and got away with it. It does not help that there is often such a lack of consistency between how the law is applied from one authority to another, and even within the same authority.

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