Once a building is listed, any works which will change its character will require Listed Building Consent (LBC). Private applicants will need consent from the local planning authority and local authorities will need to apply to the Planning Division of the Welsh Government for consent. If the planning authority considers that consent should be granted, then in most cases the papers are referred to Cadw. Cadw’s role is to consider the issues raised by the application and recommend whether it should be ‘called in’ for consideration by the Welsh Government. In practice, this will be the Planning Division or the Planning Inspectorate. The majority of applications are returned within four weeks to the appropriate local planning authority for it to proceed to determine them.
Some local planning authorities have received a ‘delegation’ from Cadw to determine consent applications for Grade 2 listed buildings without needing to notify Cadw. These authorities have demonstrated to Cadw that they have at officer level an appropriate and demonstrable level of professional expertise, underpinned by clear policies and procedures to carry out historic environment duties without the need to refer applications to Cadw. The authorities with Listed Building Consent delegation currently are Monmouthshire County Council, Carmarthenshire County Council, Vale of Glamorgan Council, Pembrokeshire County Council and Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority.
Listing is not designed to hinder progress. It provides, in effect, a breathing space to allow planners, developers, and special interest groups or individuals the opportunity to consider the historic or architectural importance of a building. It allows an opportunity to explore fully various alternatives for future use, and proposals for alteration or even demolition.
Queries about whether Listed Building Consent is required or on the progress of LBC applications should be directed to the conservation or planning department of the appropriate local planning authority.
Listed buildings in the ownership of six ‘exempted’ denominations do not have to follow the secular Listed Building Consent process. Instead Cadw has agreed with each denomination that they may approve alterations to listed places of worship according to controls put in place by that denomination. The basis for the exemption enjoyed by each of the approved denominations in Wales is that each has in place internal processes which provide a measure of scrutiny over proposed works at least as good as the equivalent secular controls operated through local planning authorities. This is known as ecclesiastical exemption and the ‘exempted’ denominations in Wales are:
- The Church in Wales
- The Church of England
- The Baptist Union of Great Britain and the Baptist Union of Wales
- The Roman Catholic Church
- The United Reformed Church
- The Methodist Church
Details of exemption and the controls operated by the respective denominations are contained in ‘The Ecclesiastical Exemption (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Order 1994’ and ‘The Ecclesiastical Exemption — What is it and How it Works’ respectively. The ecclesiastical exemption arrangements in Wales were reviewed in 2004 and there is a need to make changes to the current Order to mirror changes already introduced in England which — subject to the wishes of a new Government in Wales — Cadw intends to take forward to consultation at the end of the year.