Interior of Prince Edward Theatre, London.  View of auditotrium at dress circle level, across seating showing rake.

Interior of Prince Edward Theatre, London. View of auditotrium at dress circle level. © Historic England
Interior of Prince Edward Theatre, London. View of auditotrium at dress circle level. © Historic England

Decision-Taking in the Historic Environment

This page introduces the Historic England Good Practice Advice to support Local Planning Authorities, owners and applicants to prepare and make planning decisions on applications affecting historic buildings and places, some of which may be protected in law.

Local Planning Authorities, usually the district or borough council, are responsible for deciding whether a proposed development should be allowed to go ahead and whether or not to grant planning permission for new buildings, major alterations to listed buildings or significant changes to the use of a building or piece of land.

They are also normally responsible for making decisions on whether or not to grant listed building consent.

Historic England's Good Practice Advice Note 2: Managing Significance in Decision-Taking in the Historic Environment sets out information to enable local planning authorities make well informed and successful decisions. It covers areas such as:

  • Assessing significance
  • Finding appropriate expertise and information
  • Recording and archiving
  • Assessing the proposals
  • Unauthorised works to designated assets.

The advice in this document is in accordance with the National Planning Policy Framework. It emphasises that the information required in support of applications for planning permission and listed building consent should be no more than is necessary to reach an informed decision.  

It also emphasises that activities to conserve or investigate the asset need to be proportionate to the significance of the heritage assets affected and the impact on that significance.

Understanding Historic Buildings provides clear, practical guidance on the ways in which the wealth of historical evidence present in buildings can be gathered, recorded and communicated to inform decision-making in the planning process.

Historic England is producing an Advice Note on Environmental Impact Assessment, the process used to formally evaluate the likely environmental impacts of a proposed plan, project or development. It will be consulted on soon.

The purpose of an assessment is to make sure that decision-makers consider the environmental impacts, including impacts on the historic environment, when deciding whether or not to proceed with a project.

Historic England Good Practice Advice

Historic England Good Practice Advice notes provide information to help local authorities, planning and other consultants, owners, applicants and other interested parties in following historic environment policy in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and the related guidance given in the National Planning Practice Guide (PPG).

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