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National bodies’ serious consultation concern - Just 30 days for views on listed building consents

09 August 2012

10 national organisations have joined the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) in expressing serious concern at the way a government department is using new principles on consultation to reduce the time it plans to seek views on options for changing the system of listed building consents to just four weeks and over what is both the Summer holiday period and during the Olympic games.

In a letter sent to the Department of Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), the expert bodies highlighted the unease felt about restricting the consultation period from 26 July to 23 August.

Trudi ElliottTrudi Elliott, RTPI Chief Executive said:

\"We do not believe that the new guidance is being followed properly. There is a responsibility on DCMS to ensure that fair and reasonable consideration is given to timeframes for consultation which should be both proportionate and realistic in order to allow stakeholders sufficient time to provide a considered response. The default response to consultation time scales should not be four weeks or less.\"

Trudi Elliott also signed the letter on behalf of:

Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE), The Heritage Alliance (representing 92 heritage organisations*), Institute for Historic Building Conservation (IHBC), The Law Society, Listed Property Owners Club (LPOC), National Infrastructure Planning Association (NIPA), Planning Officers Society (POS), Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) & the Town & Country Planning Association (TCPA).

Whilst the Government's new Consultation Principles may allow for greater flexibility, the 30 day period in this instance is particularly unhelpful and ill judged when:

  • It largely falls in the holiday/Olympics month of August
  • parts of the proposals are known to be contentious and a question has already been raised about their legality
  • English Heritage, in arranging briefing events with stakeholders, has been forced to acknowledge that \"we recognise that it may be difficult for representatives to attend these meetings.\"
  • the result is likely to be counterproductive, since respondents will have insufficient input from those fully engaged with the subject to fully compose their responses on this vital issue.

The signatories believe that the new principles have been breached. The letter asks that urgent consideration be given to extending the closing date to allow stakeholders adequate time to respond to the proposals.

Friends of the Earth wrote to Cabinet Office Minister Rt Hon Francis Maude MP on the 27th July to express concern at the changes to Government guidance on consultation. Friends of the Earth support the RTPI's concern at the manner in which DCMS is using the new principles on consultation to reduce the time it plans to seek views on options for changing the system of listed building consents to just four weeks.

DCMS Consultation on Improvements to the system of Listed Building Consents can be found here

Cabinet Office, Consultation Principles 2012 can be found here

*Heritage Alliance Members:

Ancient Monuments Society/Friends of Friendless Churches

Architectural Heritage Fund

Association for Industrial Archaeology

Association for Studies in the Conservation of Historic Buildings

Association of English Cathedrals

Association of Gardens Trust

Association of Independent Museums

Association of Preservation Trusts

Association of Small Historic Towns and Villages in the UK

Battlefields Trust

Black Environment Network

British Institute of Organ Studies

B'nai B'rith UK

Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE)

Cathedral Architects Association

Cathedral Camps

Chapels Society

Church of England Archbishops Council, Cathedrals & Buildings Division

Churches Conservation Trust

Churches Tourism Association

Cinema Theatre Association

Civic Voice

Conference on training in Architectural Conservation

Conservation Course Directors' Forum

Construction History Society

Council for British Archaeology

Council for Independent Archaeology

Country Houses Foundation

Country Land and Business Association

Ecclesiastical Architects and Surveyors

The Federation of Archaeological Managers and Employers

The Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs

The Garden History Society

The Georgian Group

Greenspace

The Greenwich Foundation for the Old Royal Naval College

Heritage Crafts Association

Heritage of London Trust

Heritage Railway Association

Historic Chapels Trust

Historic Farm Buildings Group

Historic Houses Association

Historic Libraries Forum

Historic Royal Palaces

Historic Towns Forum

ICOMOS UK

Institute for Archaeologists

Institute of Conservation

Institute of Historic Buildings Conservation

Jewish Heritage UK

The Kemp Town Society

The Landmark Trust

The Leche Trust

The London Forum of Amenity and Civic Societies

Maintain our Heritage

Maritime Heritage Trust

National Association of Decorative and Fine Art Societies

National Association of Road Transport Museums

National Churches Trust

National Heritage Ironwork Group

National Piers Society

The National Trust

Norfolk Archaeological Trust

North of England Civic Trust

Norwich Heart

Oxford Preservation Trust

The Pilgrim Trust

The Prince's Regeneration Trust

Ramblers Association

The Railway Heritage Trust

RESCUE: The British Archaelogical Trust

Register of Architects Accredited in Building Conservation

RIBA Conservation Group

RICS Building Conservation Forum

RTPI Historic Environment Network

Sandford Awards for Heritage Education

SAVE Britain's Heritage

Society of Antiquaries

SPAB: Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings

The Theatres Trust

Tiles and Architectural Ceramics Society

The Transport Trust

Twentieth Century Society

Victoria County History

Victorian Society

The Vintage Motor Cycle Club

The Vivat Trust

War Memorials Trust

Waterways Trust

West Midlands Amenity Societies Association

World Monuments Fund in Britain

Youth Hostels Association