Context 146 - September 2016

42 C O N T E X T 1 4 6 : S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 6 EMILY GEE Charging for certainty Historic England is offering a series of charged-for services that give owners more opportunities to pursue listing certainty and pre-application planning conversations. Last October, Historic England, then still quite a new body, launched a new way of working to respond to modern times. Following through our commitment to government to seek new funding revenues, prioritise our work and continue to respond to the growth agenda, Historic England launched a series of charged-for services that give owners more opportunities to pursue listing certainty and pre-application planning conversations.This work is not profit-making and is done on a cost-recovery basis only, but it allows Historic England to get involved in important listing work that we could not otherwise prioritise. Three of the services relate to listing: listing enhance- ment (revising an older list entry); fast-track listing (providing advice to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) to an agreed deadline, including for certificates of immunity cases), listing screening (a research and listing survey of an area to provide historical overview and an indication of where listing assessment should be considered); and the fourth is extended pre-application advice, providing pre-application planning advice beyond an initial free service.The average case costs about £2,800. Feedback suggests that this is a reasonable price for the clarity and certainty that it brings – or ‘de-risking’, as one customer put it. Nearly a year in (nine months at the time of writing), it is a good time to update IHBC colleagues on how we, and the sector, have adapted to the new way of working. One of our promises toTreasury, and to the people, is to maintain the free service – that is, the consideration of listing applications for sites that are under threat, with strong claims to evident significance, or forming part of a current project (such as on post-war schools). These types of applications will be taken forward by our busy listing teams just as before. But sometimes owners and their agents want certainty that we can not justify taking forward under these guidelines that help us prioritise our limited resources. It is these areas where the new services can be useful: for example, from owners of large estates to individual houses, planning and heritage consultants and local planning authorities. Here is a flavour of the kind of work we have done so far in listing under enhanced advisory services (EAS). We have handled 23 certificate of immunity from listing (COI) application requests under the Fast Track Listing service and, at the time of writing (July 2016) have completed 13 cases to an agreed, fast-tracked deadline. Historically, recommendations to the DCMS on COIs have generally taken six months to complete, but under EAS our advice is sent to DCMS in half the time, usually to an agreed deadline of around 10-18 weeks, depending on the circumstances.While we can only agree Historic England timescales, the DCMS decides most of all case types quite quickly. The Historic England advice remains the same, of course, but the service means that owners will generally A complex series of listings inYork comprises the 15th-century Guildhall and 18th-century Mansion House, both listed at Grade I in 1954, and the late 19th-century Grade II Municipal Offices. (Photo:Historic England)