Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Success for heritage sector as safeguards built into Localism Bill

The Government's inadvertent weakening of protection for conservation areas and listed buildings in the Localism Bill, currently before Parliament, has been rectified by a Commons amendment that ensures that Neighbourhood Forums and Parish Councils consider the the setting of listed buildings and the character of conservation areas when deciding what requires planning permission within their areas.

Neighbourhood Development Orders, a new mechanism by which planning consent will be able to be granted locally, are thus brought into line with other parts of the consent regime. Eric Pickles, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, had conceded that, as drafted, the Bill gave rise to 'understandable concerns on the part of the heritage community'.

Those concerns have now been allayed following a concerted campaign by heritage organisations, led by the umbrella body The Heritage Alliance.