Process For Listed Building Consent
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- LISTED BUILDING CONSENT, CRIMINAL OFFENCE, UNAUTHORISED
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What is the process for listed building consent? Find out more about when you may need listed building consent, when it is legally required and how to apply for it.
What is Listed Building Consent
Listed building consent is a mechanism that ensures that any changes to listed buildings are sympathetic to their character and appropriate. It helps to protect what is a unique and rare resource.
If a structure is considered a building of special, architectural or historical interest by the Secretary of State, it will become a listed building. Although English Heritage is the supposed main authority for listed building consent, it is now a Government quango.
People have complained about the accessibility of this authority and that contact with them can be exceedingly difficult at times.
The so-called shining star of Conservation is the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC). The institute was initially known as the Conservation Officer's Club. The IHBC performs a valuable advisory and monitoring role for the Government.
Is it a criminal offence to do Unauthorised work?
Carrying out unauthorised work is a criminal offence, and the individuals involved will be prosecuted. Planning authorities can insist that the illegally carried out work is reversed. You should always talk with the local planning authority and ensure you have any documentation needed before carrying out any work on a building.
It can be difficult for homeowners to sell a worked on property that has not been granted listed building consent. Authorities will frequently undertake building surveys and find evidence that obvious illegal works have taken place.
If the property is sold, the new owner inherits responsibility for the illegal works.
Many councils don't have funding for complex legal cases, and there are many documented cases where prosecutions should have taken place that didn't due to a lack of legal funds.
This isn't to say you would get away with it, nor is this website condoning illegal activities. Just bear in mind that council resources are often stretched to the limit.
These historic buildings must be kept safe and preserved for future generations, and governments should make efforts to provide a fair listed building permission service.
Many communities argue that the system is overly complicated, which leads to illegal work being carried out. In the Enterprise and Regulatory Act of 2013, changes have been made to how listed building consent can be granted.
Applying for Listed Building Consent
Your local authority planning department is responsible for the process of the listed building consent. When you apply for listed building work permissions, it is overseen by what's known as a Conservation Officer. Unfortunately, due to a lack of government commitment towards conservation in England, there are 75% fewer Conservation Officers than there were five years ago.
As a result, it is significantly harder to get advice from them as your typical officer is dealing with a much higher workload. Because of this, many people choose to do illegal, unauthorised work and hope no one notices instead of finding someone to consent to listed building work.
For your application to your local authority, you can apply via their website or in paper form.
It is advised to apply online as the processing time is much faster, and your application for listed building permissions won't get damaged.
Additionally, you may find guidance and advice on your government's planning portal website.
Usually, there is no fee involved, but you should make sure to read the fine text and keep up with any news.
If your application for works to a listed building is denied or consent is refused, there are still things you can do.
Firstly, you have six months to appeal to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (DCLG). In addition, you can amend your plans with advice provided by professional services and reapply for consent.
Much of the written advice you will receive may be hard to understand as it is in complicated legal language. You could hire an expert to guide you through the process and help you understand why specifically they are refusing your proposed plans.
As of 2021, we are in a situation where a good consultant will likely understand planning laws better than the conservation officer involved with the case.
Many experiences Conservation Officers have retired due to government cutbacks.
As a result, a large portion of the new officers are young and lack experience in the field and knowledge and old structures.
By hiring a proficient consultant, you will positively affect the chance of successfully receiving planning permission.
Are you planning to work on a listed building in Hounslow, Twickenham, Richmond, Kingston Upon Thames or Teddington? We offer advice on planning permission for listed buildings throughout London and the surrounding areas.
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