English Heritage and local planning authorities are looking at how they protect and manage the historic environment to provide a streamlined and efficient service.
Steps to improve efficiency
Business change and improving English Heritage processes
English Heritage is reviewing its designation and business processes. The aim is to streamline and improve efficiency without the need for primary legislation and to use existing resources to better effect.
The National Heritage Protection Plan is one way of better managing our limited resources and sets out the priorities for the heritage sector in terms of understanding the historic environment, designation and management over the next five years.
The Penfold Review of Non-Planning Consents also aims to simplify and streamline a number of consent processes, whilst maintaining the levels of protection currently afforded to the historic environment.
Transfer of responsibilities to reduce double-handling
The process of transferring responsibility for designation from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to English Heritage has removed some duplication of process. All designation casework is now handled by English Heritage, but the final decision to designate or not still rests with the Secretary of State.
Unification of data
We have brought together all the separate data for listing, scheduling and registration into a fully accessible integrated online database, The National Heritage List for England. This is now available through the English Heritage website and Heritage Gateway.
We strongly encourage pre-application discussion as a way of resolving consent issues at the earliest stage of the planning process. The new National Planning Policy Framework promotes the benefits of pre-application discussion ensuring all parties work together to achieve sustainable development.
Heritage Partnership Agreements
Heritage Partnership Agreements (HPAs) bring together key partners including owners and the local planning authority to agree an approach for caring for specific heritage assets.
They aim to reduce bureaucracy and provide certainty over an agreed time period. This should deliver greater efficiency and time-saving benefits for all partners over the course of an agreement. One of the elements of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, currently being debated, will enable statutory HPAs for listed buildings.