Heritage - Is the tide turning?

10th December 2014
By Mike Newton

The Secretary of State’s decision at Razor’s Farm, Baskingstoke approving 425 new homes stated “having regard to his duty under s66 of the LBCA the Secretary of State agrees with the Inspector that it attracts considerable importance and weight in the balancing exercise. However, like the Inspector he considers that considerable importance and weight is not synonymous with overriding importance and weight”.

We continue to see this shift with a further SoS decision on 21 October 2014 approving a biomass and CHP plant in Newark (APP/A3010/A/13/2201459) where he stated that “he has taken into account his duties in the LB Act as set out in paragraph 11 above, and has given considerable importance and weight to the harm he has identified to St Wilfrid’s and to the Grange. However he shares the Inspector’s conclusion that the overall balance weighs in favour of the proposal and it can be judged as being in accordance with the development plan taken as a whole”.

Therefore, whilst applicants need to continue to consider designated heritage assets as important constraints on development, the practical moratorium that existed on developments that affect heritage assets appear to have passed and a more balanced and reasonable weighing exercise is being fostered. 

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