Hiring a Heritage Consultant to help with planning permission can be vital to help you turn a listed building or historic property into your dream home, but what do they do and why do I need one? Let’s take a look.
The term heritage consultant can be a catch-all for several different positions within the field of heritage including archaeology, built heritage, and planning but more often than not, spans across all three disciplines. Most heritage consultants have a specialism in below-ground archaeology or above-ground built heritage, but many have experience in both which can facilitate more complex schemes that require input on all aspects of heritage. Whatever our background or specialism, our role is simple: to promote the sustainable development of historic buildings and sites whilst ensuring that those elements which contribute most to their significance are enhanced or preserved.
Listed building advice
Unfortunately, in the world of development, archaeologists and heritage consultants alike have been cast in the rather unfair role of being ‘planning obstructions’, much like our fellow colleagues in ecology, transport, and other related fields. This could not be farther from the truth. Our primary goal is never to obstruct development, but rather to facilitate it in a way that balances the needs of our clients with the overarching aim of preserving our nation’s rich archaeology and built heritage. This aim can achieve amazing results, taking the past and making it fit for both the present and future.
By engaging with heritage issues from the beginning rather than ignoring them, you will be in a better position to put forward a scheme which is not only higher quality, but more likely to achieve successful planning permission.
A good heritage consultant can also provide detailed, impartial advice on your proposed development at any stage of the process, whether you have just started out or already have full-fledged designs in place. By providing expert knowledge and tweaking designs to make them more acceptable from a heritage point of view, whilst also ensuring our client’s needs are still met, we can make a valuable contribution to your design team and reduce the likelihood of objections on heritage grounds.
Overcome heritage objections
So, why should you hire a heritage consultant for your next development project? The answer is simple. We know planning law as it relates to heritage inside and out and can identify the constraints and opportunities that are specific to your scheme early on so that they can be mitigated from the start, saving you time, money, and unnecessary friction with the local planning authority. By engaging with heritage issues from the beginning rather than ignoring them, you will be in a better position to put forward a scheme which is not only higher quality, but more likely to achieve successful planning permission.
For individual clients, some may wish to tackle a Listed Building Consent application on their own, as many schemes can be relatively straightforward. However, even the most straightforward applications can be delayed or refused on heritage grounds that they had not previously considered. Having an experienced heritage consultant on board to provide advice along the way and engage with the local planning authority on your behalf can be the difference between a successful outcome on the first try and having to spend extra time and money on an appeal application following a refusal, which could have been avoided.
Expert planning advice
Although we will always try to make your desired proposals a reality, an experienced heritage consultant should also be honest with you about which elements of your scheme are not acceptable from a heritage standpoint and work with you and your design team to come up with a suitable alternative. They will also have good working relationships with local planning authority archaeologists, conservation officers, and governing bodies, such as Historic England, so can provide insider advice on how best to approach them.
Whether your scheme comprises a householder Listed Building Consent application or a complex greenfield development site with both archaeology and heritage considerations, Blue Willow Heritage can help. If you would like to discuss your project or simply need some impartial, no-obligation advice, then please get in touch.