Government planning reforms pose a significant threat to our built and landscape heritage

The Government is proposing the biggest shake-up of planning law and policy in half a century. Joined Up Heritage Sheffield has submitted a comprehensive response to the proposals, which we believe are founded on little evidence and many wrong assumptions, and pose a significant threat to our built and landscape heritage. We are especially concerned that in large areas yet to be defined, outline permission for developments of all kinds will simply be assumed, with local people consulted only once every five years. Worse still, a review of the long-standing protections for Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas is threatened, even though the current regime is said to have “worked well”. Non-designated heritage is barely mentioned, and no protection is offered.

A national body will guide the production of local design codes, which will be “machine-readable” so that decisions can be made using a kind of algorithm for beauty. Such algorithms have an extremely unfortunate recent history from which we need to learn. The carbon and resource benefits of re-using historic buildings are ignored, as are the economic, health and well-being benefits. What is left of public input to planning will be pushed online, as though the digital divide did not exist. As for the shortage of housing – the big issue allegedly driving these reforms – no solution at all is offered to the huge problem of developments being granted but not built.

The government proposals are at The response by JUHS can be found at The public consultation has now closed, but if you share our concerns you can still write to your MP.

Athol Hotel demolition