Glossary of Terms in Heritage Works for Housing

Heritage Works 2017

Heritage Works 2017 and Historic England's planning system web pages provide guidance on the planning and listed building consenting regime. These are two different and overlapping processes.

Optimum viable use

Heritage assets need to be viable in the long-term which leads to investment and their long-term conservation. If there is only one viable use, this is the optimum viable use. If there are a number of alternative uses, the optimum viable use is the one that is likely cause the least harm to the significance of the asset.

See also: GOV.UK Historic Environment Guidance

Planning permission

Planning permission may be required for development proposals and is applicable to all building types – listed, non-designated historic buildings, and other buildings. Planning permission typically relates to the principle of use, new floorspace, external appearance and impact of the proposals on the amenity of the area. Once an application is submitted to the relevant Local Planning Authority the decision making will be made as part of a ‘plan-led’ system. A plan-led system is whereby the planning permissions should accord to the strategic policies set out in the Local Planning Authority’s Development Plan and the overarching National Planning Policy Framework.

See also: GOV.UK When is permission required?

Listed building consent

Listed Building Consent relates to works to listed buildings only and is required for any works which affect the special architectural and historic interest of the building. This typically applies to the majority of works affecting the interior or exterior of a listed building. The decision making relates to preserving the significance of the building and balancing any perceived harm caused against the public benefits. Historic England have set out a detailed guide on navigating the listed building consent process in Listed Building Consent Advice Note 16.

Within each of the regimes there are different types of applications and mechanisms that can be used to enable a residential use. The following consenting processes could be used singularly or in combination:

  • Exchange of Correspondence – Where there is only a limited likelihood that listed building consent is required, a letter of comfort from the Local Planning Authority that the works will not require listed building consent. If required, this process could be supplemented with a Certificate of Lawfulness of Proposed Works which is a mechanism to formally confirm the proposed works are lawful.
  • Change of Use – a form of planning application that seeks permission to change from one use class to another. There are certain types of change of use which do not require planning permission, called Permitted Development (‘PD’) Rights.
  • Full Planning Permission – a planning application to carry out external works to a building, establish a new use, or create new floorspace.
  • Listed Building Consent – consent to carry out works to a listed building, including works to the interior.
  • Heritage Partnership Agreements – an agreement with the Local Planning Authority (and where applicable Historic England) granting listed building consent for certain, usually repetitive works and particularly useful for long-term management and maintenance of a listed building.
  • Planning and Listed Building Consent Conditions – conditions may be attached to a planning permission or listed building consents. These typically require additional information to be submitted for agreement with the Local Planning Authority and enable development to proceed to next stages.
  • Permission in Principle (PIP): This is an alternate route of obtaining planning permission for residential developments which is a two stage process. It first establishes if a site is suitable in-principle for the proposed use, which is then followed by a Technical Details Consent stage where the detailed development proposals are assessed. This can be useful for developers who want to test the feasibility of a project before investing time and money in detailed plans.
  • Local Listed Building Consent Order (LLBCO): These are made by Local Planning Authorities and grant listed building consent for works of any description for alteration or extension, barring demolition, of listed buildings in their area. This blanket grant of consent helps developers by eliminating the need to submit repetitive applications for listed building consent for works which are already covered by the LLBCO and reduces the workload for Local Planning Authorities.
  • National Listed Building Consent Order: This blanket order is made by the Secretary of State and applies to a specific type of work on listed buildings across England.

Heritage Works for Housing

Historic England aims to support developers in their journey to reusing historic buildings. This guidance highlights how historic buildings can be reused, repurposed and refurbished to provide residential development. It outlines the process from buying a historic building to long-term occupation and management; and the key challenges and approaches to overcome.

These pages provide case studies of successful reuse of historic buildings into new homes, creating sustainable and dynamic places to live. Historic buildings are a tangible opportunity to address ongoing industry challenges, including the housing requirement whilst minimising carbon impacts.

Managing Change
The Interface of New and Old
Glossary (current page)
Case Study Resources

Historic England engaged Deloitte LLP to assist with the preparation of this Publication / Guidance which uses information provided by Historic England as well as research undertaken by Deloitte to provide guidance on the process for use of historic buildings for residential purposes. Any views, conclusions, insights, and/or recommendations within this Publication / Guidance are Historic England's alone.