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Fresh heritage legislation unveiled

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Plans to make the UK heritage system easier to use have been revealed in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill

The changes would merge conservation area consent with planning permission allowing parts of buildings to be specifically excluded from listing.

They would also place heritage partnership agreements between local authorities and heritage owners onto a statutory basis. 

The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) welcomed the changes, which it described as ‘modest’.

CLA president Harry Cotterell said: ‘The initial proposals in the Bill are useful, making modest amendments to existing heritage legislation to benefit a small minority of cases.

‘However, they are definitely not the solution to the main problem, which is that local authorities do not have the skilled staff needed to operate the current heritage protection system.’

The reforms follow the 2010 Penfold Review on non-planning consents and were published in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill in March.

A Department for Culture, Media and Sport consultation on further reform looking at the Penfold Review’s ‘B1 and B2’ proposals is expected this summer.

The new policy would change the system so so less time and effort goes into dealing with the applications which benefit heritage, and more on cases that might cause harm. 

Cotterell added: ‘This next stage is much more important.  It is vital to the future of our heritage that these ideas are put into a workable form and incorporated into legislation as quickly as possible.’

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