Briefing Note: Heritage reform in Wales including the Historic Environment (Wales) Act 2016

This briefing note covers issues with heritage protection in Wales, the ongoing Heritage Protection Review, and the implications of the Historic Environment (Wales) Act 2016 for members.  The Review has substantially improved heritage planning policy and guidance, after much CLA lobbying, but it has not attempted to solve the biggest problem, the lack of heritage resource in Welsh local authorities.

The Industrial Strategy Green Paper

This is a CLA response to the Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Green Paper on an Industrial Strategy.

As background the Industrial Strategy represents the governments flagship policy for increasing growth and productivity. The green paper available here  sets out 10 pillars which government have identified as key to delivering future growth.  Government seem to be placing significant importance on the strategy and BEIS for growing the economy. 

The consultation covers several key areas at a high level and the CLA has responded to highlight the importance of the rural economy and how the strategy might deliver increased productivity from the rural business through the ten pillars. It is important that CLA engage with BEIS to ensure future improvements in rural productivity and growth are supported through the strategy especially given that delivery of an industrial strategy will be an ongoing process with potential for sector stakeholders to collaborate with government to create sector deal with tourism being one example.

The key messages CLA are highlighting in our response are outlined below although a number of issues are raised in response to specific questions set out in the consultation

  • The importance of the rural economy and the need for the strategy to deliver growth and increased productivity for rural areas and businesses
  • The importance of planning in delivering economic activity particularly highlighting how planning restricts rural growth and economic development
  • The need for more collaboration between government departments and rural proofing of policy
  • The need for local institutions to have proper regard and representation of  the rural economy if they are going to have increasing importance in setting the growth agenda

 

 

The adaptation and maintenance of farm buildings

As CLA members are well aware, agriculture and regulatory change has made almost all traditional farm buildings redundant, but it is very difficult to get planning permission to convert them sympathetically to new ones.  This is leaving hundreds of thousands of buildings unused and in decay.  The CLA response to this consultation generally welcomes this new draft Historic England advice, which understands the problem, points out that in most cases buildings if not adapted to new uses will be lost from the landscape, and provides good advice on adaptation and maintenance.

Listed Buildings and Curtilage

‘Curtilage listing’ can invisibly extend listed building protection to other surrounding buildings and structures, even if they are not mentioned in the official list description.  For obvious reasons this can cause considerable confusion for owners and local authorities, confusion exacerbated by a lack of guidance and an inaccurate but widely-promulgated view that ‘curtilage listing’ is impossibly complicated.  This has become a standard criticism of listed building legislation and of the heritage protection system as a whole.  In 2016, after many years of CLA and other lobbying, Historic England published advice on this which for the first time clarified what 'curtilage listing' covers and what it does not.  In early 2017 however HE withdrew its advice and consulted on a watered-down version.  This CLA response stresses the importance of clear advice from Historic England, both on whether or not a structure is a curtilage structure, and the implications if it is.

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