DCMS has responded to a petition calling for interim protection for buildings being considered for listing by Historic England. The petition was created after a developer destroyed a Jacobean ceiling to prevent a building being listed. It has been signed by nearly 7,000 people.
DCMS state: 'The partial destruction of 15 Small Street, Bristol, before it could be considered for listing, is incredibly sad. Fortunately, such instances are comparatively rare. Had the building been considered to be at risk, the local planning authority could have used its existing powers, under the 1990 Act, to serve a Building Preservation Notice (BPN). Thereby, it would have been given statutory 'interim protection' for 6 months, during which time it could have been assessed for listing.
Historic England is currently re-examining the issue of interim protection in the light of recent cases involving intentional damage to buildings prior to their assessment for listing, in terms of how the use and effectiveness of BPNs could be improved. Also the case for revisiting the form of interim protection envisaged in the 2008 Heritage Protection Bill (and recently introduced in Wales). It will be discussing these with DCMS and Department for Community and Local Government (DCLG) officials in due course.'