Views of Consultees on Listed Building Consents and Other Permissions
Once the local planning authority has accepted an application as valid, it has a statutory duty to publicise the application and consult with various bodies or individuals regarding the proposal.
The views of consultees are a material consideration in planning permission and listed building consent decisions in so far as those views relate to matters which themselves are material to heritage conservation and spatial planning.
Consultees can play a very important role in heritage decisions. Some consultees will provide an important source of understanding of the value society places on a site, building or area. Our most important buildings are often well understood and their history well-recorded. Others may have a strong communal and associative historic value to parts of society without this being obvious to the casual observer. These interest groups may not be alerted by the usual consultation requirements and may need to be contacted directly in order for the full significance of a place to be understood.
In addition, consultees can provide expert advice on the significance of heritage assets. The National Amenity Societies, civic societies and local history groups can often provide invaluable information and expert opinion particular in their area of interest.
Historic England guidance
Historic England can provide expert advice through its local planning teams. It also holds a wealth of historical information that can be assessed via the Heritage Gateway online and through its archive in Swindon.
Historic England has produced many guidance documents aimed at helping decision-makers to reach the best outcome. These are available online and are linked to this guide where relevant. Even in cases where Historic England has not been formally consulted, planning inspectors have considered Historic England advice documents to be a material consideration as they represent the views of Historic England that would have been received directly if it had been consulted.
Formal consultation requirements
The consultation requirements are set out in the arrangement for handling heritage application notification to Historic England and National Amenity Societies and the Secretary of State (England) Direction 2021. This replaces Circular 01/2001, Circular 09/2005 and Circular 08/2009 and the 2015 direction of the same name. The requirements are detailed but generally set out on which of the more important applications the local planning authority should consult Historic England, the National Amenity Societies or the Secretary of State. The Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015 is also relevant.
These are obligatory requirements. In order to minimise the risk of legal challenges to a decision local planning authorities are advised to seek the views of consultees if there is any doubt.
Outside of these categories, local planning authorities may feel the issues make it worthwhile to consult Historic England or the National Amenity Societies anyway. Historic England is empowered to advise on any application whether consulted or not (1).