On the day it takes control of the listing system, English Heritage (EH) has vowed to make the process 'quicker, simpler and more transparent'.
But the body, which has taken over the administration of the heritage protection system from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), has also warned that delays in the listing process could get worse before they get better.
According to an EH document outlining the handover, routine listing applications, which currently take around six months to deal with, could, at first, take even longer to sort out.
It said: 'The new system is designed to streamline the listing process, but new notification and consultation arrangements may initially increase the time taken to process cases.'
EH is proposing to make a number of further changes to the system over the coming months, including the introduction of new information packs for owners of listed buildings.
The body will also launch a new formal consultation stage to the listing process, allowing owners and local authorities to comment on EH's advice to the secretary of state before it is submitted. The minister will continue to make the final decision on all listing matters, but EH is hoping legislation will be passed to allow it to take over the secretary of state's powers.
Meanwhile, later in the year, the DCMS will carry out its own public consultation on the 'revised principles of selection for assessing buildings for listing'.by Richard Waite