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 not called in and are returned within four weeks to the appropriate local planning authority for it to proceed to determine them.
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. However, as part of the reform of policy advice and guidance that is accompanying the Historic Environment (Wales) Act 2016, the Ecclesiastical Exemption Order and guidance is due to be reviewed during 2017.