Simplifying Consent

September 04

The Trust's Conservation Adviser explains the Local Listed Building Consent Order initiative for the Village.

Heritage sites are celebrated, protected and managed through planning policies. In Port Sunlight village, there are two tiers of protection: statutory listing and conservation area designation.

In 1965 the Department for Media, Sport and Culture listed nearly all of the houses and all of the public buildings in Port Sunlight village at Grade II and in 1978 the council designated all of Port Sunlight village as a conservation area.

Planning policies such as statutory listing and conservation area designation are in place to properly manage, rather than to prevent change. Buildings in Port Sunlight may not be demolished, extended or altered without Listed Building Consent from Wirral Borough Council’s planning department. Listing Building Consent is required for works proposed for the front, sides and rear of the property as well as the interior, associated outbuildings, boundary walls and other garden features.

Depending on the complexity of your application and the council's current work load, review and processing of Listed Building Consent applications can take up to eight weeks. Failure to obtain consent when it is needed may be a criminal offence.

A review of the Listed Building Consent applications for the Port Sunlight village houses over the past eight years has demonstrated trends, both in the approval rate for applications and in the types of work that are most common in the village.

Only two out of the sixty-two Listed Building Consent applications for the houses in Port Sunlight village in the past nine years have been refused. Two! Given the success rate for Consent applications and the potential for penalties and fines if you do works without consent, there is no reason to avoid the process.
However, we do recognise that the Listed Building Consent application and review processes take time. Wirral Borough Council and the Trust are working together to streamline the consent process for residents of Port Sunlight village.

In Part 5, “Reduction of Legislative Burdens” of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act, enacted in 2013, a measure was passed which allows local planning authorities to grant a Local Listed Building Consent Order (LLBCO or Orders) for a particular class of work in a set geographical area over a set period of time.

Is that clearer than mud? Let’s try it in English (or in my case American). Wirral Borough Council’s planning department can pass LLBCOs for typical works proposed for the houses in Port Sunlight village. Once the Orders are approved, individual Listed Building Consent will no longer be required as long as proposed works are covered by an Order and meet the methods, materials and criteria established in the Orders. If the work you propose is not covered by an Order or does not meet the methods, materials and criteria established in the Orders, then you will need to apply for individual Listed Building Consent.

The Trust is working with Wirral Borough Council to develop LLBCOs for the following works: installation of satellite dishes, replacement of rear windows, rear doors and yard gates, and construction of rear garden conservatories and garden sheds. Once the Orders are approved, owners of Port Sunlight village houses will be able to proceed with pre-approved works without making individual applications to the Council. (Please note that some works may still require planning permission or other permissions from the Council.) Owners will be required to submit pre- and post-works photographs to demonstrate compliance with the Orders.

The Orders will clarify appropriate works for the village, streamline the administrative burden of living in a listed building and add another layer of significance to the history of Port Sunlight village as the village will be a national test case for the innovative development and use of LLBCO.