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Enhanced Advisory Services Consultation

In March 2015 we began a consultation on four new charged-for Enhanced Advisory Services. These now sit alongside our existing free (taxpayer funded) planning and listing services. We were very pleased with the engagement in this consultation; many thanks to all who were able to take part. An analysis of the responses is available to download from the bottom of this page.

Having assessed all of the responses, we made some amendments to our proposals before launching the services on 12 October 2015. These amendments are set out below.

Over 70% of respondents to the consultation were supportive of our proposals for the four Enhanced Advisory Services:

  • Fast-track Listing: providing Listing decisions in a quicker and guaranteed timeframe
  • Listing Enhancement: providing clarity over the extent of statutory protection in a guaranteed timeframe
  • Extended Pre-application Advice: providing Historic England engagement in pre-application advice beyond an initial free service
  • Listing Screening Service: providing assessment of the likelihood of any heritage assets with the degree of interest that would warrant statutory Listing

Amendments to proposals based on consultation:

  • Our proposals included plans for a Screening Service, and we asked what you would expect to receive as part of such a service. The responses offered enormous variety, but it was evident that we had not provided sufficient clarity as to the content of such a service. We have therefore decided to rename this as the Listing Screening Service. Historic England staff will conduct a survey and produce a report on an area of land to assess the likelihood of any heritage assets with the degree of interest that would warrant statutory Listing. The report will also indicate heritage assets which may merit local designation; however decision-making on these is for the Local Planning Authority to determine. The service will not identify below-ground archaeological potential, which will need to be addressed separately with the Local Planning Authority. We hope this will provide a helpful way to reduce uncertainty early on in the development process by allowing owners or prospective owners of substantial areas of land to gauge the risk of proceeding with development plans in an above ground context.
  • Many of the consultation responses demonstrated some concern about the impact that the introduction of paid-for services would have on continued provision of our taxpayer funded free services. Some of these responses highlighted the reassurance provided by the key performance indicators set out in the consultation material against which we will monitor the continued performance of our free services. However, we will now articulate more fully the available free services alongside the paid-for options. Our description of the charged-for service will be presented alongside full description of the free services offered. This will demonstrate our commitment to the continued provision of the free services, and also make clear the options for engagement with Historic England.
  • Consultation responses highlighted the importance of pragmatic and efficient delivery of the scheme as essential to the services being well received and used. This feedback was timely as it coincided with the development of our processes for implementing the new services. This has been given particular consideration to how we will calculate the charges, and we can confirm that each case will be charged on the basis of the hours used to complete it. This means that customers will only pay for the work undertaken on their individual case.
  • One of the changes we will need to make so that prospective applicants cannot evade pre-application charges is to confine our pre-application advice to applicants themselves (or their agents). From mid-October, therefore, we will no longer be able to provide pre-application advice directly to Local Planning Authorities (LPAs), unless of course the LPA is also the prospective applicant. We will, however, encourage prospective applicants to arrange joint pre-application meetings so that the likelihood of contradictory pre-application advice from Historic England and the LPA is minimised. For the time being, such meetings would need to be separately billed to the customer, but we are looking into how this might be avoided in future and would welcome suggestions from LPAs on how this might be achieved.

To discuss further, or if you have any questions, please email the team.