Decisions: An Overview

Deciding how to deal with a planning application that affects a heritage asset or a listed building, conservation area or scheduled monument consent application can be difficult given the variety of heritage assets. It is further complicated by the different rules that must be applied to the facts in each case.

The unified policy approach to all heritage assets in the NPPF (ref. 1) provides assistance; but some complication remains. The overall position is as follows:

1. NPPF policies all apply to not only planning decisions but also listed building consent decisions.

2. Scheduled monument consent decisions are not affected by the NPPF, but there are similar policies set out in a DCMS policy document entitled simply 'Scheduled Monuments' (October 2013) (ref. 2). Any planning decisions that affect scheduled monuments are subject to the NPPF though.

3. Policies within the development plan are also directly relevant to planning decisions affecting heritage assets, but they are not by law directly applicable to listed building consent decisions. The aspirations for the locality that they embody may well still be material to those other consent decisions.

4. For listed buildings and conservation areas there are statutory requirements which apply to all relevant planning and listed building and conservation area consent decisions. Broadly they require the decision maker to have special regard to the desirability of preserving the listed building or its setting or any features of special architectural or historic interest it possesses, and pay special attention to the desirability of preserving or enhancing, the character or appearance of the conservation area (ref. 3)

5. The Planning Practice Guidance assists decision makers in applying the NPPF. Historic England advice, if followed, would assist the decision maker to achieve the policy objectives of the NPPF. 

The following sub-sections deal with each of these ingredients to a decision.


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

(2) Scheduled Monuments, Department for Culture, Media and Sport, October 2013

(3) ss16, 66, 72 Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990