Planning appeal decisions could be cut by 5 months

The most contentious planning cases could be decided up to 5 months faster, and some in half the time, giving certainty to communities about future developments, argues a major review led by Chair of Atom Bank, Bridget Rosewell CBE.

Mrs Bridget Rosewell CBE added: ‘It’s critical that all parts of the planning system contribute towards the efficient delivery of the homes we need as well as the refusal of those which don’t meet our high standards.  My review found, with commitment for all involved, that speeding up inquiries can be achieved through straightforward reforms, shaving months off the current time it takes for inspectors to make a decision.  I’m pleased my report has been welcomed by the government and the Planning Inspectorate and look forward to seeing these changes being implemented.’

The report made 22 recommendations. These range from committing the Planning Inspectorate to introducing a new online portal for the submission of inquiry appeals to setting out a strategy for recruiting additional inspectors so inquiries can be scheduled sooner, reducing the length of time they take to conclude.

The Planning Inspectorate will prepare an implementation plan which will set out precisely how it will deliver these recommendations.

The Rosewell Review is part of the government’s programme of reforms and targeted investment to ensure we deliver 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s.The final report was published on 12 February 2019.

The government will now consider the findings before publishing a response in the coming months.

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Planning appeal decisions could be cut by 5 months

Civic Voice call for stronger protection on non-designated heritage assets in Planning Policy by publishing national register of local authorities with a Local Heritage List

Research by Civic Voice, funded by Historic England’s Heritage Protection Commissions programme, shows that at least 168 local authorities across the country now have a Local Heritage List in place, giving greater protection to non-designated heritage assets. These authorities are active in listening to communities about what buildings, structures, sites and landscapes make the local area special.

The first national register of Local Heritage Lists is being published by Civic Voice today to inspire other communities to knock on the door of their local council and to campaign for more Local Heritage Lists to be created. The register is published alongside a new Civic Voice guide highlighting examples of local communities who have helped prepare Local Heritage Lists.

Sarah James, Civic Voice expert on Local Heritage Lists said: “Local planning authorities are encouraged to consider making clear and up-to-date information on their identified non-designated heritage assets, both in terms of the criteria used to identify assets and information about the location of existing assets, accessible to the public. We don’t think this goes far enough. By publishing this first national register we want to highlight that we have a long way to go to protect our local heritage. In our response to the draft National Planning Policy Framework we will be asking the Government to make it mandatory for local authorities to prepare a Local Heritage List.”

The Local Heritage List National Register and Local Heritage List Guide is available at http://www.civicvoice.org.uk/campaigns/local-heritage-list/

Civic Voice call for stronger protection on non-designated heritage assets in Planning Policy by publishing national register of local authorities with a Local Heritage List

Historic England publishes new advice with regard to Conservation Areas

This new advice note from Historic England supports the management of change in a way that conserves and enhances the character and appearance of historic areas through conservation area appraisal, designation and management.

The purpose of this Historic England Advice Note is to provide information on conservation area appraisals, designation and management to assist local authorities, planning and other consultants, owners, applicants and other interested parties such as civic societies and conservation area groups in implementing historic environment legislation.

This 2nd edition updates the advice in light of the publication of the 2018 National Planning Policy Framework and gives more information on the relationship with local and neighbourhood plans and policies. It has been updated to give more information on innovative ways of handling conservation appraisals, particularly community involvement beyond consultation, character assessment and digital presentation. It makes it clear that appraisals need to be easy for decision-makers to access, understand and navigate.

This new edition also emphasises the need for meaningful community engagement and highlights the example from Dover District Council who have worked with Civic Voice member, the Deal Society. The guide links to the template developed by Deal and says that this approach can be used by communities, when drafting community-led appraisals on behalf of the Council (see Deal Society Conservation Area Appraisal Toolkit). We are pleased the guidance picks up several Civic Voice points in regard to community participation. It says ‘Where consultation is undertaken it is good practice to prepare a report explaining: how community involvement and public consultation has been undertaken; how the input from the community was evaluated; and how it has influenced the final appraisal document and the recommendations

You can download the advice note here. Conservation area appraisal Heritage Advice Note 1

Historic England publishes new advice with regard to Conservation Areas

What do you do if a local authority has no conservation officer?

Blog by David Biggs, The Tamworth and District Civic Society (TDCS)

Following the announcement that the London Borough of Ealing decided to delete the role of conservation officer and in view of the Civic Voice campaign on conservation areas and officers, I thought you’d be interested in North Warwickshire Borough Council (NWBC) – part of whose geographical area comes within our remit in The Tamworth and District Civic Society – and the issue of unprotected heritage assets.

Because NWBC has no Conservation Officer, no Local Listing programme and no Locally-Listed Buildings whatsoever, and no Conservation Area Advisory Committee, its unprotected heritage assets are at real and constant danger of loss in the places within the borough without conservation areas.

Buildings like these are important and unique in their local context, but they are not going to meet the criteria set by Historic England for national listing. In an area without a Conservation Officer, Local Listing and a co-ordinated and comprehensive approach to conservation and heritage, unprotected old buildings can be picked off one-by-one by developers.

The historic character and identity of many of our towns, villages and streets are being cumulatively eroded, because no protection is afforded, and officers and councillors have little if any planning grounds to reject applications.  We wonder how many other civic societies experience the same issue and concern?  It seems clear from Civic Voice communications, that this is happening elsewhere, and so is a major national issue.

The state and future of our nation’s conservation areas is of deep concern, but the civic movement should also be very worried about our unprotected heritage assets that we can’t get nationally-listed, or locally-listed, or placed into conservation areas.

It is therefore pleasing to see Civic Voice focus this year’s national conference on asking: “How can we balance conservation and regeneration?  Tamworth hopes to attend, and we look forward to hearing from Heritage Lottery Fund, Historic England, RTPI and RIBA about the future of conservation departments and the impact on our everyday heritage. We will also be attending the Midlands Meeting before then, and will be interested  to discover the extent to which our concerns and experiences are shared by other civic societies across our region.

*On the point about Local Heritage Listing, Civic Voice earlier this year published a new guide (available here) along with a new national register highlighting those local authorities who manage a Local Heritage List. We are asking Civic Voice members to help us to keep this database updated.

 ** Civic Voice’s Sarah James says: “I think this makes a really good point: what do you do if a local authority has no conservation officer, as there is zero chance of ever getting a local list. The everyday heritage outside of conservation areas will be lost”.

What do you do if a local authority has no conservation officer?

Mary Ash, Civic Voice East of England forum invites groups to network and discuss conservation areas.

On April 21st, several civic societies in the Eastern Region came together in Norwich with the express intention of forming an association of groups which had a regional closeness as well as civic interests in common.

Ian Harvey, of Civic Voice, had us comparing and discussing several basic but important matters which affect us all. Although we were a small group, there was much enthusiasm from those attending, and it was decided to meet in Great Yarmouth on September 22 to set up a more formal association.

We shall be open to any organisation which has an interest in its local community. We also hope to have some training on an issue close to most societies’ hearts, which is Conservation Area auditing.

Most of us have areas in our towns and cities which need conserving, and recording the features of buildings and public spaces in an agreed format goes a long way towards protecting them. So here is the programme for the day. Please let us know if you are able to send someone from your organisation, and let’s make this fledgling association fly!

Date: September 22, 2018
Venue: Christchurch, King Street Great Yarmouth, NR20 2HL
Time: 11.00am – 2.30 pm

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/east-of-england-civic-forum-tickets-48658970290

Civic Voice’s Regional Association meeting are for Civic Voice members and other civic societies to meet and to give you the chance to develop your skills, network and be inspired by the work of others in the civic movement. .

The meeting will be led by Ian Harvey, Civic Voice Executive Director.

A light lunch will be available from St George’s Theatre nearby.
A short walk around the town afterwards should be fun.

Mary Ash, Civic Voice East of England forum invites groups to network and discuss conservation areas.

Council opens public consultation on Oxford Central Conservation Area Appraisal

An eight-week public consultation opens on Monday 3 September 2018 on the City Council’s Oxford Central (City and University) Conservation Area Appraisal, which covers the historic core of the city.

National legislation defines a conservation area as an area of special architectural or historic interest, the character or appearance of which it is desirable to preserve or enhance. A conservation area appraisal is an objective analysis of the elements which together define the area’s special architectural or historic interest.

These elements will be largely physical, both man-made and natural, such as historic buildings, trees and rivers, but will also include other considerations, such as spaces, views, uses, and sounds. The appraisal seeks to describe and map these elements to inform everyone involved in the planning process.

The council would like to hear from the public about what makes Oxford’s central area special and is consulting on the work done so far for eight weeks from 3 September until 26 October 2018.

People can comment on the appraisal by responding to the online consultation on the council’s website: https://www.oxford.gov.uk/oxfordcentral. Alternatively, submissions can also be made by email to heritage@oxford.gov.uk or by meeting the project team at the Town Hall during Oxford Open Doors on Saturday 8 September and Saturday 20 October from 10am to 2pm.

Councillor Alex Hollingsworth, Board Member for Planning and Transport, said: “The centre of Oxford is one of the most important conservation areas in the country with its concentration of buildings and history in a small space. It is also a large part of the living and breathing city where people live, work and visit. It has evolved over hundreds of years and it will continue to adapt in the future. This assessment will help to record what is special about the area and allow the City Council to make informed proposals for the future management of the area to ensure that its character and appearance are not harmed. Decisions about alterations, development and demolition will be informed by this appraisal.”

Council opens public consultation on Oxford Central Conservation Area Appraisal

WARWICK District Council has proposed a new Canal Conservation Area across the district and is seeking the views of local people.

WARWICK District Council has proposed a new Canal Conservation Area across the district and is seeking the views of local people.

The move follows a recent assessment of the canal and its setting, by the Council’s Conservation Team to identify and explain what makes it special and its historic significance to our district.

The Grand Union Canal and Stratford-upon-Avon Canal together serve as a major heritage asset dating from the late 18th-century linking historic towns with the countryside and strengthening Warwick District’s character, economy, and tourism. The waterways also provide a recreational facility for local residents, who can walk, jog or cycle along the 40km of canal towpath in the district.

Designation of the Canal Conservation Area will promote access to the canals, improve interpretation of our industrial heritage, and crucially, it will promote informed, intelligent high-quality design, responsive to local distinctiveness that recognises what local people value.

A public consultation exercise is now open and the draft Canal Conservation Area appraisal document can be viewed on the Council’s website.

People wishing to contribute local knowledge and values should make their submissions using the links on the Council website by 24th September.

The project is being delivered for the Council by Roger Beckett, a local Architect/Planner with over forty years’ experience of waterside planning, design and conservation and he is seeking feedback from the public on the proposals. He can be contacted at roger.beckett@warwickdc.gov.uk.

See the original article at: https://www.warwickdc.gov.uk/news/article/208/local_views_sought_on_creation_of_canal_conservation_area 

WARWICK District Council has proposed a new Canal Conservation Area across the district and is seeking the views of local people.