English Heritage is the Government's lead advisory body for the historic environment and has a statutory role in the planning system. Central to our role is the advice we give to local planning authorities and government departments on development proposals affecting listed buildings, scheduled monuments, registered parks and gardens and conservation areas.
We also publish wide-ranging guidance on the management of the historic environment.
In most cases local planning authorities will be the first point of contact for advice on proposals for change in the historic environment. It is not necessary or appropriate for English Heritage to engage with every planning issue that involves the historic environment. We will usually only advise on proposals with the potential for major change or damage to significant, nationally important heritage assets.
In addition to our current statutory role, it is customary for English Heritage to be consulted on developments which affect a Registered Battlefield or its setting. Protected Wrecks involve a specialist licensing process.
What governs our advice
Our advice is shaped by legislation and based upon government policy and guidance. English Heritage advice is also underpinned by our published Conservation Principles.
We expect to uphold publicly the statutory advice provided by English Heritage to local planning authorities. Unless material circumstances change, we will not alter our advice. In complex cases it is for the statutory decision-maker(s) to judge the balance of any competing interests.
The circumstances in which English Heritage is notified of and consulted upon applications affecting the historic environment are set out in legislation and government guidance.
Broadly speaking, English Heritage must be consulted on:
- Listed building consent applications relating to a Grade I or II* building or for total or substantial demolition of a Grade II listed building.
- Applications for planning permission for development which affects the setting of a Grade I or II* listed building or affects the site of an ancient monument.
- Development which affects the character or appearance of a conservation area and which involves:
- the erection of a new building or the extension of an existing building where the area of land in respect of which the application is made is more than 1,000 square metres
- the material change of use of any building where the area of land in respect of which the application is made is more than 1,000 square metres or
- the construction of any building more than 20 metres in height above ground level
- Development likely to affect any Grade I or II* historic park or garden
- All applications for scheduled monument consent.
- Applications made under the Care of Cathedrals Measure 2011 for certain classes of works to Anglican cathedrals.
- Applications under the consent processes of the exempt denominations for works affecting listed ecclesiastical buildings or archaeological remains
In Greater London, English Heritage has statutory powers and must be consulted on a wider range of applications, including any proposal for demolition of a building in a conservation area.