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08/05/2015

Historic England ‘leading the way in planning’

Words: Laura Edgar
Bodiam Castle

The new Conservative government should consider introducing a charging system for enhanced planning services similar to Historic England, British Property Federation (BPF) suggests.

Historic England has consulted on charging for a series of enhanced services to require developers to pay for options including extended pre-application advice and fast-track listing within a guaranteed time frame. Its existing services would remain free.

The charges would aim to deliver a system that has better resources, therefore improving performance as well as encouraging developers to bring historic buildings back into use and safeguarding the assets’ futures.

The BPF suggests that the Conservative administration should consider a similar structure to address the “chronic lack of resources afflicting local planning departments”.

Melanie Leech, BPF chief executive, said: “The planning system plays a significant role in unlocking development in the UK, and all too often local authorities’ hands are tied by the fact that they are terribly under-resourced. Historic buildings similarly have an important part to play in renewing our towns and cities, and these enhanced services will allow developers to work with Historic England to ensure that they can be protected and brought back into use much more easily.

“We would like the new government to be open to the possibility of extending a similar system to all local authorities, which will allow planning applications to be dealt with more quickly and efficiently and ultimately speed up the delivery of real estate in the UK.”

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