Listed building: harm to setting: weight

East Northamtonshire DC v SSCLG 2014 EWCA Civ 137

R v Forge Field Society v Sevenoaks DC 2014 EWHC 1895

“48 … the duties in sections 66 and 72 of the
Listed Buildings Act do not allow a local
planning authority to treat the desirability
of preserving the settings of listed
buildings and the character and
appearance of conservation areas as mere
material considerations to which it can
simply attach such weight as it sees fit. If
there was any doubt about this before
the decision in Barnwell it has now been
firmly dispelled. When an authority finds
that a proposed development would harm
the setting of a listed building or the
character or appearance of a conservation
area, it must give that harm considerable
importance and weight.

49 This does not mean that an authority’s
assessment of likely harm to the setting
of a listed building or to a conservation
area is other than a matter for its own
planning judgment. It does not mean that
the weight the authority should give to
harm which it considers would be limited
or less than substantial must be the same
as the weight it might give to harm which
would be substantial. But it is to
recognize, as the Court of Appeal
emphasized in Barnwell, that a finding of
harm to the setting of a listed building or
to a conservation area gives rise to a
strong presumption against planning
permission being granted. The
presumption is a statutory one. It is not
irrebuttable. It can be outweighed by
material considerations powerful enough
to do so. But an authority can only
properly strike the balance between harm
to a heritage asset on the one hand and
planning benefits on the other if it is
conscious of the statutory presumption
in favour of preservation and if it
demonstrably applies that presumption
to the proposal it is considering.”

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