VAT threatens our nation’s heritage, says CLA

07 October 2013

The CLA has criticised the new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) for failing to get heritage policy right.

The Association said that while the NPPF is a step forward in terms of relaxing the planning system, its chapter on heritage is a disappointment which threatens our nation's heritage.

CLA President Harry Cotterell said: "CLA members manage more than a quarter of all heritage in England.  If heritage is to be looked after effectively for future generations, good heritage policy is vital. Planning Policy Statement 5 (PPS5) was a big improvement on what preceded it but there were important heritage holes which the NPPF has failed to deal with.

"The NPPF does not recognise the need for heritage to be changed in a sympathetic way so that it is maintained and kept relevant.  Waiting until a building is decaying before change can be considered is not heritage protection, it is heritage death by red tape." 

Mr Cotterell added: "It is disappointing because small changes to the NPPF could have produced an excellent policy that strongly encouraged the long-term protection of our heritage."

The CLA also attacked the Chancellor's decision to impose VAT at 20 percent on the cost of alterations to listed buildings.

Mr Cotterell said: "Introducing this new 20 percent VAT rate while continuing to charge the same rate for repairs is appalling. This is a £125million per annum tax raid, adding to the huge profit the Government already makes from our heritage. Far from helping, it will do heritage great harm."