§ LORD ARDWICK
asked Her Majesty's Goverment:
Whether the listing of buildings of special architectural or historic interest in England and Wales can be revised in order to give more buildings protection under the relevant provisions of the Town and County Planning Act 1968.
§ LORD KENNET
Revision of these lists is a continuing process carried out by specialist central Government officials in accordance with criteria adopted on the advice of the Historic Building Council's Listing Committee (whose Chairman is the noble Lord, Lord Holford). At present over 118,000 buildings in England and nearly 5,000 in Wales are included in statutory lists, of which there is one for each local authority area. Inclusion of a building in the statutory lists means that it cannot be demolished, or altered in a way affecting its character, without a listed building consent obtained under the Act. Before statutory lists are issued, local authorities receive copies of a provisional list, which includes, in addition to buildings to be included in the statutory list (classified Grade I, Grade II or Grade II* according to their importance), buildings classified as Grade III. Grade HI buildings are not subsequently included in the statutory list and do not enjoy the protection of the Act's provisions about listed buildings. They are, however, of sufficient interest to be drawn to the attention of local authorities and others, so that the case for preserving them can be given due consideration.
At the request of my right honourable friend the Minister of Housing and Local Government the Listing Committee have recently reviewed the criteria for listing. They recommend that as the review of existing lists proceeds, more types of buildings previously classifiable as Grade III should be added to the statutory lists in Grade II. The new types recommended for addition to the statutory list in Grade II include pre-18th century buildings not previously statutorily listed 1401WA because they had subsequently been substantially altered; groups of buildings not forming a single architectural composition and of varying quality, but collectively of special interest; and buildings which, while not previously qualifying for statutory listing, form part of a planned estate or group that has remained substantially intact and is of special interest. My right honourable friend has accepted the Committee's recommendation for inclusion of these additional types of buildings in Grade II of the statutory lists. This will greatly increase the number of protected buildings.
My right honourable friend has also accepted the Listing Committee's recommendation that Grade III buildings should no longer be included in the provisional lists issued by him and that thev should be drawn to the attention of local authorities by other means. The Committee has further suggested that local authorities should be invited, as an aid in carrying out their planning functions, to maintain lists of buildings which are not statutorily listed, but the preservation of which is nevertheless of local importance; my right honourable friend will consult representatives of (he local authorities about this.
My right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Wales, who is also advised by the Listing Committee under the noble Lord, Lord Holford, is in agreement and will be taking similar action in Wales.