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Reduce cost and bureaucracy of Listed Building and Conservation Area administration

2 Comments 3rd August 2010

Interference by Councils in the maintenance of Listed Buildings and buildings in Conservation Areas has become a hugely intrusive, expensive and inappropriate means of controlling issues of "taste" in public life by imposing on individuals and their property.

Reduction in this involvement and the charges made for it need to be achieved to take Local Government out of the detail of peoples lives and properties.

Examples are the charges levied for erecting a shed or greenhouse in the garden of a listed building, or for the change in colour of the paint work, or for replacing features such as gates, doors or windows with more appropriate styles. The need for involvement may be justified by the public good, but the degree of detailed involvement  by individuals from the Local Council and the charges made for this intrusion goes against the laws of natural justice. The imposition of public standards on individuals is arbitrary, and disproportionate to the good that arises. If such involvement is perceived to be necessary by government, then the cost should not be forced upon the individuals as well as the restriction of the regulations; it should be borne by the Council who should reduce their costs by efficient management and by good judgement in allowing suitable works and decisions to be made by the individual after appropriate advice and guidance (which can be by web pages or leaflets provided in advance of an application for consent).

If poor outcomes result then if the cost/benefit justifies the Council taking "enforcement action", then they can do so at their risk in a simplified panel of adjudication. Their experience in taking such action will provide a good track record to illustrate the Councils standards of management, both by the number of challenges they make an the success rate. This will also provide guidance for other individuals in such circumstances as to the standards that are acceptable and those that are not.

Why does this matter?

The outcomes of this approach will provide better management of conservation areas without up front imposition of subjective standards taste and will place the emphasis on action being taken in a light weight adjudication process. This will reduce the cost and intrusion and provide improved benefits to the Community and individuals.

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