English Heritage (EH) has provided an important if preliminary and interim review of the potential implications of the Taylor Review on guidance used to manage England’s heritage.
In a note to the Historic Environment Forum (HEF), EH observes that some heritage-related documents will be cancelled by 28 March 2013, while other documents, including PPS5 Practice Guide and Circular 07/09 on the Protection of World Heritage Sites will be replaced, most likely by July 2013, and it is recommended that the PPS5 PG is withdrawn only once replacement guidance has been issued by sector, in order to support the NPPF.
English Heritage has offered the following as an initial evaluation:
- Initial consultation runs until Friday 15 February 2013.
- The consultation is on the proposed lists of guidance to be deleted, the nature of the proposed preparation and the future management of planning-related guidance. It will inform the Government’s path for preparing the new guidance.
- The goal is ‘establishing a single, coherent and up-to-date suite of only essential guidance which is easily accessible on-line’.
- Some heritage-related documents will be cancelled by 28 March 2013.
- Other documents, including PPS5 Practice Guide and Circular 07/09 on the Protection of World Heritage Sites will be replaced, most likely by July 2013.
- It is recommended that the PPS5 PG is withdrawn only once replacement guidance has been issued by sector, in order to support the NPPF.
- The Review seems to imply that the heritage text will be produced by HEF and not by Government and will thus be less definitive. HEF may wish to separate the current draft guidance into two parts with one part being included by Government in its web-based guidance, and the other more technical material being produced by HEF with EH assistance as a separate publication/web-resource.
- The position of future guidance from NDPBs such as EH and agencies is not clear. There does not appear to be a recommendation that EH guidance such as ‘Enabling Development’ should not be produced, but the implication is that it will not have any formal Government endorsement and will stand or fall on the weight given by Planning Inspectors at appeal.
Relevant extracts from the Report
Conclusion bullet 2: ‘…guidance should support the application of local skills and judgement, not automate them. Guidance also has a crucial role in helping identify what information is required in different circumstance, to ensure proportionality and that decisions are appropriately informed without undue burdens being placed on applicants or the decision-taking process.’
Conclusion bullet 4: ‘There is a role for Government Planning Practice Guidance in explaining complex regulatory and policy requirements’.
Para 2: The guidance should not be ‘lengthy texts but prompts, essential information required or recommended processes.’
Para 8: ‘Whatever material other departments wish to produce, Government is clear that it only formal Government Planning Practice Guidance once it is admitted to this website.’
Para 9: ‘The new guidance website should signpost organisations providing best practice guidance and other advice in relevant areas (e.g. links to heritage organisations associated with the National Planning Policy Framework section on heritage) but not endorse specific documents.’
Para 10: ‘It will be necessary to create new material, drawing out (in consultation with practitioners) the vital elements from within the existing suite of guidance documents updating and formatting as appropriate to a web based resource, before decanting it on to the new site….we believe the aim should be to complete the great majority of this work by July 2013, subject to necessary, legislative and EU processes, etc. At that point all the existing guidance should have been, or be, cancelled.’
Para 12: ‘The Government …should…. aim to complete the immediate cancellations, and work in progress on the preparation of the website and the most urgent updating of guidance by the first anniversary of the publication of the NPPF – 28 March 2013.
Para 13: ‘After a rapid transition to such a radically new format we recommend there is a second formal consultation at the point the resource is alive, to identify any weaknesses or improvements, and ensure the guidance suite is then appropriate, coherent and up-to-date….’
Annex A: existing material for immediate cancellation (by 28 March 2013)
Doc 38: Letter to Chief Planners on handling heritage applications 2009
Doc 39: The Protection and Management of World Heritage Sites in England: EH Guidance Note to Circular for England on the Protection of WHS (2009)
Doc 57: Best Practice Guidance on Listed Building Prosecutions (2006)
Annex B: material to be withdrawn that needs to be covered in future guidance in a different form
No heritage documents
Annex C: material to be retained until it is replaced by revised guidance
Doc 31: PPS5 Planning for the Historic Environment Practice Guide (2010)
Doc 40: Arrangements for handling Heritage Aplications – Notifications and Directions by the Secretary of State (2009)
Doc 41: Joint Circular with DCMS 07/2009 Circular on Protection of WH Sites
Doc 71: Joint Circular 09/05Arrangements for Handling Heritage Applications, National Amenity Societies
Doc 85: Joint Circular 01/01: Arrangements for Handing…..Notifications and Directions by the SoS.
Annex D: new guidance -No heritage references
PPS 5 Practice Guide is noted as ‘recommended for retention until replaced by revised guidance. Companion guide to PPS5, so out of date, although policy in PPS5 was largely carried through to the NPPF. English Heritage is working with Historic Environment Forum – a sector wide body including development and heritage interests – on new guidance to underpin the NPPF. Recommend withdrawal of document only once replacement guidance has been issued by sector, in order to support the NPPF.’