The Government (Department for Culture, Media and Sport) is consulting on a range of proposals which aim to reduce the troublesome burden on listed building owners and Councils of the need to seek Listed Building Consent. Contrary to the views of many a conservation officer, Listed Building Consent (LBC) is not required for any works to a listed building but only those which affect the building’s character as a building of special architectural or historic interest – something very much open to interpretation. Councils can pretty much ask for an application for any works to a listed building (including curtilage buildings) and the owner has no real choice but to apply – the only way to challenge this decision at the moment would be to go ahead with the works and invite the Council to prosecute. Quite a risky strategy!
In my experience Councils invariably err on the side of caution and conservation officers seek to exercise absolute control over anything remotely close to a listed building. This leads to a significant number of applications for trifling works which clearly would have no effect on the building’s architectural or historic interest. The aim of the new consultation is to cut some of this out. The ideas on the table include:
• A system of prior notification leading to deemed LBC
• A “certificate of lawful works to Listed Buildings”
• A system of local and national class consents granting deemed LBC
• Accredited Agents replacing local authority officer recommendations on LBC, if applicants wish
The consultation may be viewed here and responses are required by 23 August – a short and sharp consultation.
If you have a listed building and want to know whether your proposals are likely to require Listed Building Consent then give us a call.