The British Property Federation (BPF) has welcomed new proposed guidance on the use of heritage assets in the planning system, but has recommended that the guidance should be streamlined in accordance with the coalition Government’s efforts to reduce unnecessary guidance.
Responding to a consultation on Historic Environment Good Practice Advice in Planning Notes, drawn up by English Heritage and the Historic Environment Forum, the BPF has warned that while some section of the guidance were helpful they were submerged in overly long and repetitive documents.
BPF members fully supported the constructive conservation principals of English Heritage, and its role in supporting sustainable development and the regeneration of the historic environment. However, it said that any additional planning guidance should not only support, but also add value to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and the Planning Practice Guideline (PPG).
Liz Peace, Chief Executive of the British Property Federation, said:
“Our is a country full of wonderful heritage assets which, if treated appropriately, can add huge value to communities and help to spur new development, and so we welcome the production of cross sector guidance to help this to take place. However, guidance must be clear, concise and created in response to a real need rather than a replacement for the reams of guidance torn up in the last few years. It should also be as concise as possible in order for it to be used effectively, and therefore would benefit from a more ruthless approach.”
Robert Gowing, an Associate in law firm Berwin Leighton Paisner’s Planning and Environment Team, added:
“The property industry acknowledges the benefits associated with the conservation of the UK’s heritage assets, and welcomes efforts by English Heritage to update its planning guidance. However, as the Government continually aims to streamline planning policy and guidance, it is imperative that any new guidance doesn’t just repeat what is already available, but adds clear and helpful support on those topics where levels of uncertainty remain”.