Localism Bill

Additional Memorandum submitted by Peter Hayward (L 84)

1. I am writing to make further written submissions regarding the Localism Bill to the Public Bills Committee currently considering this Bill.

2. I understand that there are proposals in the Localism Bill to provide that section 66 and 72 of the Planning (Listed Building and Conservation) Areas Act 1990 shall not apply to neighbourhood development orders in schedule 12 paragraphs 23 and 24.

3. As has already been pointed out in another Memorandum, this will severely weaken the current controls regarding the "setting" of listed buildings relating to the creation of such development orders regarding the "settings" of listed buildings, as well as removing the requirement to "preserve and enhance" conservation areas relating to neighbourhood development orders.

4. It is unclear why these provisions are being brought in, as they are not necessary as the requirement for planning authorities to have plans that comply with these provisons by itself is insufficient protection for the protection of the "setting" of listed buildings and the current controls over conservation areas.

5. In any event, these proposed clauses are inappropriate, because neither section 66 and 72 of the Planning (Listed Building and Conservation) Areas Act 1990 are being repealed for general planning applications, so it is difficult to see why they should not have statutory effect relating to neighbourhood development orders per se.

6. As currently provides, both of these provisions provide clear statutory protection regarding the safeguarding of the "setting" of listed buildings and the protection and preservation of conservation areas, which have recently received added protection in PPS 5.

7. It is therefore a current statutory requirement that all local authorities have to take into consideration whether a proposed development will adversely affect the "setting" of listed buildings.

8. Were a plan not drawn up to reflect section 66 and 72 of the Planning (Listed Building and Conservation) Areas Act 1990, it would enable harmful planning schemes to be approved relating to Grade 1 listed buildings such as Westminster Abbey, or even the Houses of Parliament itself for instance.

9. There has also been no consultation with interest groups concerning these proposals, and I would contend that schedule 12 paragraphs 23 and 24 should be deleted from the current bill.

10. As has been also pointed out, these provisions have provided the courts with the framework from which to seek to protect both listed buildings and conservation areas from harmful development that would neither "preserve or enhance" conservation areas, that have been now recognized as "heritage assets" under PPS 5.

11. At the very least, I think that there should have been far more consultation concerning these particular proposals, particularly with interest groups such as English Heritage and other similar bodies.

February 2011