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Planning Gain and Enabling Development
|These enactments may be invoked as potential additional funding sources when some profitable commercial development takes place, or is being contemplated, which impacts on an historic building. It is not necessary for the development actually to involve the building; depending on circumstances, it may also be applicable if the historic building is merely in close proximity to the work in question.
Please note: These topics are extremely complex, and the ultimate resolution of any particular application depends on a large number of factors, not the least of which are the particular circumstances of the case in question. The notes which follow should therefore be treated as being no more than a brief introduction to the subject. Further specialist advice should be sought by any organisation considering taking advantage of the opportunities outlined below.
This can take more than one form, but it most usually involves a developer being required to repair an historic building, or pay towards someone else doing so, as a condition of planning permission being granted for some profitable commercial development, usually on adjacent land. In practical terms, those seeking to repair an historic building in an area where there is some element of development pressure, might discuss with the local authority and / or with the developer or landowner, the possibility of the building being transferred to them and / or a payment being made towards repair costs, as a planning condition. The details would be set out in a legally binding agreement, usually a Section 106 Agreement , which compels the developer to abide by the particular planning conditions thereby imposed on him.
For further information on this potential opportunity, organisations desiring to fund repairs in this manner should seek further specific guidance from the planning department of their local authority.
This is closely related to the subject of Planning Gain. In order to secure the future of an historic building, local planning authorities are empowered to grant planning consent for a development which would otherwise fail to gain approval, subject to the developer's acceptance of an appropriate Section 106 Agreement . One example of how this may be put to use, is where the owner of a country house is granted planning permission to build new houses in its grounds, subject to the profits on the subsequent sale of the houses being used to secure the future of the main house. This would be allowed in circumstances where planning permission would normally be denied for the building of new houses in the grounds.
For planning consent to be granted in such circumstances, a number of conditions must be met. For example, as an absolute minimum, the repair of the main building must be demonstrably uneconomic and the new development must not materially compromise its setting. Other conditions will apply depending on the particular circumstances of the case under consideration.
To ensure that the funding for the repairs is available, and is put to the use for which it is intended, a prudent local authority will insist on the historic building being repaired before the sale of any enabling development.
These and related issues are covered in detail in the key publication on the subject: Enabling Development and the Conservation of Heritage Assets , published by English Heritage. Further information from English Heritage on 020 7973 3000.
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