Cutting the red tape

Cutting the red tape

bureaucracy n. :– a rigid system of administration in which action is impeded by unnecessary official procedures.

It’s probably fair to say that the definition above rings true for most planning processes, as many property owners and developers find their applications for consent shrouded in red tape and delays. For owners of listed buildings, the problem of bureaucracy is often worse as any planned works or alterations (and even minor installations such as satellite dishes, as the property owners in our claims case study found out) must adhere to far stricter guidelines.

So, the measures to simplify the listed buildings consent process, introduced in April 2014 by the Government as part of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, are likely to be welcomed. These measures include the provision that:

  • local planning authorities will be able to enter into a Heritage Partnership Agreement with owners of listed buildings, whereby a single consent is provided to cover a number of specified works. This will reduce the number of occasions when consent is required, saving the owner and local authority time and money
  • the Secretary of State and local planning authorities will be able to grant general listed buildings consent by making either national consent orders or local listed buildings consent orders
  • owners of listed buildings will be able to apply for a certificate of lawfulness to obtain formal confirmation from the local planning authority that the works they are proposing do not require listed buildings consent.

The aim of this new legislation is to reduce the regulatory burdens faced by owners and developers, whilst maintaining existing levels of protection for listed buildings.

Lack of evidence cover

In theory, these measures should reduce the demand for our lack of listed buildings consent indemnity, which offers protection in the event of enforcement action by the local authority due to lack of evidence of consent in regards to past works.

However, we anticipate there may be a need in the future for cover where the certificate of lawfulness cannot be produced, or when the age of the works is uncertain, and it is unclear whether the new guidelines applied or not. Not to mention that we will continue to offer our policy for older works, completed before April 2014, where there is no evidence of listed buildings consent.

If you would like to find out more about our listed buildings indemnity cover, or to arrange a quotation, please call us on 01603 617617, send us an email at or visit