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Curtail English Heritage’s right to list business premises

Comment 15th March 2013

English Heritage has the absolute right to list and grade buildings they decide are of architectural interest and they consider should be preserved. This statutory right applies to commercial and industrial buildings even though they may be owned by working businesses. The effect of the listing can have an extremely negative effect on the operation of the business. I suggest that where a working business is operating out of the premises, English Heritage should not have the absolute right to list. They should first be required to establish that the listing will not have an adverse effect on the business and the people working in it. A right of appeal should be available against any decision made, including those premises already listed.

Why does this matter?

My idea is important because in a small business where the business owns the premises, the listing can have a detrimental effect on its future. If the premises that the business occupies are of no value and unsalable because of the state of repair and the specification to which they were built, then it makes the future of the business bleak. They cannot move premises because they cannot sell the existing buildings; they have lost from their balance sheet the value of the site with all that means for current and future financing needs. The problems visited on the business make it very difficult to attract future management because the company’s ability to survive has been severely compromised. The natural course of events would then be for the business to close and the buildings to be boarded up until they are vandalised or they fall down. This process blights the area, encourages anti social behaviour and means that ultimately both the business and the building are lost.   

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