"An important strand of improvements to the heritage protection system is going ahead as a result of Government's 'Penfold Implementation Report' published in November 2011. The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, currently going through Parliament, contains four reforms relating to the protection and management of heritage assets, which are:-
- Enabling list descriptions to specify attached or curtilage structures which are not considered to be of special interest - to remove the need for listed building consent (LBC) for structures which are not of interest;
- Freeing applications for Certificates of Immunity from Listing (COIs) from the need to apply for planning permission;
- Merging planning permission and conservation area consent - to simplify the system and remove duplication, while retaining a criminal sanction against unauthorised demolition of conservation area buildings; and
- Creating statutory Heritage Partnership Agreements which will allow agreed works to go ahead without the need for listed building consent.
All these reforms were included in the Heritage Protection Bill of 2008, which failed to get Parliamentary time, and together constitute a sensible package of reforms which can improve systems while retaining levels of protection. We expect them to complete their passage through Parliament in the Autumn."