Historic inconsistency: what’s the regime regarding the development of historic sites and buildings?
Policy direction in relation to historic buildings has shifted over the years, to positive enhancement and conservation
rather than simply preserving in aspic. When dealing with historic buildings and sites, the key provisions are found in
the main planning legislation and the Planning (Listed Building and Conservation Areas) Act 1990. A wealth of guidance and expertise is also available from advisory bodies such as English Heritage and the UK National Commission for UNESCO.
Some historic assets, however, require wider consideration, since certain designations may give rise to more onerous
obligations. For example, if work is being undertaken on a world heritage site or a scheduled ancient monument, different policy provisions will apply. It is also worth bearing in mind that occasionally there are surprise designations. In one recent example concerning a former US air base, Harden aircraft carriers were designated scheduled ancient monuments, despite them not fitting the immediate image of an “ancient monuments”.