Locally Listed Heritage Assets
There may be many buildings and sites in a local planning authority’s area that make a positive contribution to its local character and sense of place because of their heritage value. Although such heritage assets may not be nationally designated or even located within the boundaries of a conservation area, they may be offered some level of protection by the local planning authority identifying them on a formally adopted list of local heritage assets.
Around half of all local planning authorities have produced lists of locally important buildings and sites (1), although not all of these have adopted the list as part of their development plan. In consequence the significance of any building or site on the list (in its own right and as a contributor to the local planning authority’s wider strategic planning objectives), can be better taken into account in planning applications affecting the building or site or its setting.
Whilst local listing provides no additional planning controls, the fact that a building or site is on a local list means that its conservation as a heritage asset is an objective of the NPPF(2) and a material consideration when determining the outcome of a planning application.
In deciding any relevant planning permission that affects a locally listed heritage asset or its setting, the NPPF requires amongst other things that local planning authorities should take into account the desirability of sustaining and enhancing the significance of such heritage assets and of putting them to viable uses consistent with their conservation. They are also obliged to consider the positive contribution that conserving such heritage assets can make to sustainable communities including their economic vitality (3).
The NPPF contains policies that apply to heritage assets regardless of whether or not they are locally listed. However, local listing provides a sound, consistent and accountable means of identifying local heritage assets to the benefit of good strategic planning for the area and to the benefit of owners and developers wishing to fully understand local development opportunities and constraints.
Local listing does not affect the requirements for planning permission. Some buildings can be demolished without planning permission and local listing does not affect that, although an article 4 direction issued by the local planning authority can reinstate the requirement for planning permission for demolition of a locally listed building.
Historic England has produced detailed guidance on the best practice in producing local lists of heritage assets (4).
(1) Local Authority Conservation Provision, Institute of Historic Building Conservation, English Heritage, Oxford Brookes University, 2003