Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act: changes to heritage planning

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Significant changes to the law concerning listed buildings and conservation areas are set to be made under the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act, which received Royal Assent on 25 April. The changes (contained in part 5, sections 60–63 and schedules 16 and 17 of the new act under the general heading ‘Reduction of legislative burdens’) are intended to reduce red tape and make it easier to undertake works that do not affect the special architectural or historic character of listed buildings.

When they come into force, the changes will take effect as amendments to relevant sections of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 and the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990. The changes will only apply to England. For the time being, the law in Wales will remain unchanged.

The need to obtain Conservation Area Consent for the demolition of an unlisted building in a conservation area in England will be removed. Instead, such works will require planning permission. The need to obtain the consent of the local planning authority will therefore remain, but it will no longer be necessary to make two separate applications (one for planning permission and one for Conservation Area Consent) for a scheme involving the demolition and replacement of a building in a conservation area…

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