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Planning Reform - Historic Scotland launch pilot with local authorities

8 October 2008

Historic Scotland has launched a pilot scheme with three of Scotland’s local authorities in a bid to improve the process of dealing with category-B listed building consent (LBC) applications.

The pilot will run from October to December with The City of Edinburgh, Glasgow City and Perth and Kinross Councils. The results of scheme are scheduled to be announced in March 2009 and will determine if the new way of working can be offered to all of Scotland’s thirty-four planning authorities on a permanent basis.  

The pilot, announced by Culture Minister Linda Fabiani MSP in April this year, is part of a range of reforms aimed at improving the partnership between Historic Scotland and local authorities across Scotland.

Linda Fabiani, MSP, Minister for Europe, External Affairs and Culture, said: “We want to improve the planning process for the benefit of the historic environment and to move towards a system which combines knowledge and expertise at local and national levels.

“We all have a duty to protect and enhance Scotland’s heritage and, at the same time, manage development and growth. The pilot will help us determine how we achieve this. Local Authorities, Historic Scotland and Government partners want to ensure better joint working across Scotland.”

Jim MacDonald, Deputy Chief Inspector at Historic Scotland who has lead the reform proposals, said: “The aim of the scheme is to speed up decision making for those local authorities who have the expertise.  This will reduce duplication between Historic Scotland and local authorities and support the Government’s drive to modernise the planning system.

“The proposals in the pilot would allow Historic Scotland to focus on applications where we can add value as well as providing more strategic advice to planning authorities, applicants, and Scottish Ministers. Similarly, it enables authorities to deliver listed building consents more quickly to applicants.”

The move will see listed building consent (LBC) applications for B-listed buildings - from an agreed list of application types - being solely managed by the planning authority where, previously, local authorities were required to notify Historic Scotland before listed building consent could to be granted. This will provide planning authorities with the opportunity to determine applications without notifying Historic Scotland, where they have the polices and expertise to do so.  

The types of applications which will be covered by the pilot have been agreed with each local authority in advance.  The new system does not mean that these types of applications are unimportant or that LBC should be granted.  However, it does recognise the planning authorities have the capacity and expertise to decide whether the proposals will retain the special interest and character of the listed buildings, and determine the applications accordingly.

Jim MacDonald added: “We’re delighted to be launching this pilot and believe it offers the perfect opportunity to strengthen our partnership with local authorities as part of the Scottish Government planning modernisation. The pilot, if successful, means we can focus our resources and expertise on those issues where we can add most value.”

List of applications types which the pilot schemes will now see local authorities deal with directly are available as are contribution quotes from the three local authorities taking part in the trial.

Notes for editors

  • Historic Scotland is an executive agency of the Scottish Government charged with safeguarding the nation’s historic environment. The agency is fully accountable to Scottish Ministers and through them to the Scottish Parliament.

  • Historic Scotland  has been set new targets to deal with 70% of planning applications  within 14 days in 2008, rising to 90% in 2009/10. The Agency currently exceeds previous ministers’ target of clearing 97% of all listed building consent applications within 28 days

  • Register for media release email alerts from If you wish to unsubscribe at any time, please email or telephone on 0131 668 8603

For further information

Lisa Nicholson
Communications and Media Manager
Communications and Media
0131 668 8852 or 07500 065 438