Listed building report highlights urgent need for reform, says CLA

15 August 2014

The CLA has highlighted the urgent need to reform the current “dysfunctional” listed building consent system with its backing of a new report by the Listed Buildings Initiative.

The Association, whose members look afterover a quarter of all listed buildings, called the independent report “shocking” but “not surprising”.

Asset or Liability? Owning a listed building in the 21st century found that three quarters of respondents thought the current listed building consent system worked badly, with 80 percent saying its decisions were “illogical” or “inconsistent”.

Worst of all for the long-term future of England’s 750,000 listed buildings, two-thirds thought the system “freezes” listed buildings, preventing the sympathetic changes essential to keep them valued and viable in the future. 

CLA Midlands rural adviser Donna Tavernor said: “This report endorses CLA members’ experiences and our own research over several years. Everyone involved in the system knows about these problems and the only practical solution is reform. After six years of discussions, in which the CLA was heavily involved, we now have sound national planning policy for heritage and listed buildings, but reform of listed building consent has made limited progress and the system is in danger of collapse as local authorities repeatedly cut the staff supposed to run it.”

Urgent reforms needed and called for by the CLA include proper guidance on the listed building consent process; much more realistic technical advice from English Heritage on change to listed buildings; defining and removing from the system the usually harmless changes like replacing central heating; and a more streamlined procedure for other non-harmful changes to free-up local authority staff so they can focus on the minority of applications which might cause harm.

Read Asset or Liability? Owning a listed building in the 21st century by the Listed Buildings Initiative here:

The findings of the Listed Buildings Initiative report are in line with a similar survey of CLA members published in 2006, Who Pays For Heritage?