This week the government has proposed to reform and simplify the way heritage sites are listed and protected to create “a unified…system, with more opportunities for public involvement” which will “put the historic environment at the heart of the planning system”.
The Heritage White paper proposes to:
* replace listing, scheduling and registering with a single system for designating historic places.
* open up the system to greater public consultation and scrutiny, and by creating a single new Register of Historic Buildings replacing all existing lists and schedules.
* introduce ‘interim protection’ for historic assets while they are being considered for designation, and create new appeals procedures against designation.
* put the historic environment at the heart of the planning system, merging listed building consent and scheduled monument consent, and conservation area consent with planning permission.
* clarify and strengthen protections for World Heritage Sites, and enhance protection for archaeological remains in the marine environment and on cultivated land.
English Heritage (charged with taking over the listing propcess from government) is delighted with the proposals, enthusing that they:
strip out the bureaucracy of the heritage protection system, demystify the process of listing and make it fairer and more accessible. For the first time, house owners will be consulted when their house is being considered for listing; they will have the right to appeal; it will be easier to make changes to complex listed sites
Heritage Link responded by welcoming the simplification and clarification of the system but went on to argue that it will take more than this to portect our heritage:
Until public financial support is assured, the longer term maintenance and security of our heritage hangs under a darkening cloud
For more details on the consultation on the white paper visit here.