Enabling Development for Listed Buildings and Other Heritage Assets

Enabling development in context of the historic environment is development that would be unacceptable in planning terms but for the fact that it would bring heritage benefits sufficient to justify it being carried out, and which could not otherwise be achieved (ref. 1).

A typical example would be the construction of houses where planning policy would normally prohibit them, the profits from which would pay for repairs to a heritage asset.  

The heritage benefits of the proposed development should outweigh the dis-benefits of departing from the development plan or from national planning policies (ref. 2).

As enabling development is, by definition, undesirable in at least some respects, Historic England has produced very thorough guidance on the sorts of situations in which it may, or may not, be appropriate (ref. 1).


(1) GPA 4: Enabling Development and Heritage Assets, Swindon, Historic England 2020 (see related publications

(2) Paragraph 202, National Planning Policy Framework, Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government, June 2021