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New scheme to speed up listed building consent

22 March 2010

Historic Scotland has invited every local authority in Scotland to join a planning scheme to improve and speed up the process of dealing with certain types of applications affecting category B listed buildings.  

This is part of a range of reforms aimed at strengthening the partnership between Historic Scotland and local authorities across Scotland.  It follows a successful three month pilot scheme where Perth and Kinross, Glasgow City and the City of Edinburgh councils were able to issue listed building consent for B listed buildings without the need to consult Historic Scotland.

The pilot found that consents were issued more quickly and in line with policy.  On average, pilot applications were determined 27 days more quickly than non-pilot category B cases. Just over half of the pilot cases were resolved within eight weeks.  

The initiative will reduce duplication between Historic Scotland and local authorities and support the Government’s drive to modernise the planning system. Authorities will be able to deliver listed building consents more quickly to applicants allowing Historic Scotland to focus on applications where it can add value as well as providing more strategic advice to planning authorities, applicants and Scottish Ministers.  

Jim MacDonald, Deputy Chief Inspector with HS said: “The pilot clearly showed that provided they have the expertise, policies and processes in place, planning authorities can deliver quicker decisions on the more straightforward listed building consent applications without a decrease in quality, if their duty to notify Scottish Ministers is removed.

“Historic Scotland has written to planning authorities explaining what they need to do if they want to take on sole responsibility for determining more straightforward listed building consent applications.”

John Bury, Head of Planning at the City of Edinburgh Council said: ”This has significantly reduced the amount of time taken to determine listed building consents for Category B buildings so we hope to reach an agreement with Historic Scotland as soon as possible. ”

Notes for editors

  • The proposal to implement the removal of the duty of planning authorities to notify Historic Scotland on certain types of listed building consent application is in line with the Scottish Historic Environment Policy (SHEP).  It will not result in a change in policy, but rather introduces the potential to change current working procedures between Historic Scotland and individual planning authorities.

  • The pilot ran between 1 October and 31 October 2008.

  • Previous briefings outlined the pilot study with three planning authorities at the end of 2008 and the results of the public consultation on the findings of the pilot at the end of 2009.

  • If the duty to notify Historic Scotland of certain consent application is removed, planning authorities wanting to participate would sign a Joint Working Agreement with Historic Scotland outlining the range of application that could be determined without the need for referral.


Description of applications for listed building consent to which section 12 will not apply:

External Works

The alteration, replacement or installation of:

  • External doors
  • Gutters and downpipes
  • Railings
  • Windows
  • Roof coverings
  • Rooflights
  • Stonework or masonry finishes
  • Chimneys

Single storey extensions where:

  • The floor area of the resulting building is up to 20m squared greater than the original
  • The height of the resulting building would be below the height of the highest part of the original and
  • The development would be less than 4m in height

Installation of:

  • Modern fittings (e.g. aerials, gas, plumbing, telecommunications etc) and
  • Micro – renewables

Alteration, replacement or installation of:

  • Shopfronts
  • Awnings
  • ATMs and
  • Signage

Internal Works

Subdivision of rooms

Creation of openings between rooms (excluding perforation of floor plates and ceilings)

Installation of modern fittings (e.g suspended ceilings, kitchens, bathrooms, office furniture, bookcases etc.)

Alteration, replacement, removal or installation of:

  • Floor surfaces and finishes
  • Doors and associated joinery
  • Shutters, pelmets and rods
  • Modern services (electrics, gas, plumbing, telecommunications etc)
  • Tiles
  • Chimney pieces/fireplaces
  • Decorative plasterwork
  • Decorative wall coverings, fixed tapestries and decorative paints (which form part of an architectural scheme)
  • Built-in furniture (e.g pews, wardrobes, cupboards
  • Decorative timber joinery (e.g. panelling, dado rails, picture rails, skirting boards).

  1. 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. For more information visit www.historic-scotland.gov.uk
  2. Register for media release email alerts from www.historic-scotland.gov.uk/news.


For further information


Jennifer Johnston-Watt
Communications and Media Officer
Communications and Media
0131 668 8070 or 07827 956866
jennifer.johnstonwatt@scotland.gsi.gov.uk