Building Preservation Notices

Local planning authorities may serve a Building Preservation Notice (BPN)  on the owner and occupier of a building  which is not listed, but which they consider is of special architectural or historic interest and is in danger of demolition or of alteration in such a way as to affect its character as a building of such interest (ref. 1).

If a BPN is served, an application to list the building must be made at the same time to Historic England.

A BPN takes effect immediately when it is served on the owner and occupier.

Once served a BPN is in force for a maximum of six months until either the Secretary of State (for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport) lists the building or informs the authority that they do not intend to do so. If no decision (either to list or not to list) is taken in the six month period, the BPN will lapse.

Whilst the BPN is in force, the building is subject to the same protection as a listed building and any works to the building will require listed building consent. If works are carried out without listed building consent the local planning authority can take enforcement action or institute criminal proceedings.

If the Secretary of State decides not to list the building, or the BPN lapses then so do all listed building consents and applications and other listed building procedures. However, the fact that the BPN has lapsed is not relevant to the issue of whether an offence was committed for failing to apply for listed building consent when the BPN was in force (ref. 3).

If the decision is taken not to list the building, the local planning authority may not serve another BPN in respect of that building within 12 months of the decision. If the service of the BPN is not followed by the building being listed and the restrictions during the currency of the notice directly cause any financial damage to an owner (such as breach of contract for demolition works) then the authority may be liable to pay compensation. A claim for compensation must be submitted within six months. (ref. 4)

Local planning authorities are encouraged to use BPNs to protect important buildings of value to society from being irretrievably lost or damaged without the authority first being able to consider its merits and any proposals for development. 

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