Amendment 243

Part of Levelling-up and Regeneration Bill - Committee (10th Day) – in the House of Lords at 4:30 pm on 20 April 2023.

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Photo of Baroness Hayman of Ullock Baroness Hayman of Ullock Opposition Whip (Lords), Shadow Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs), Shadow Spokesperson (Levelling Up, Housing, Communities and Local Government) 4:30, 20 April 2023

I thank all noble Lords who have taken part in this debate, and I thank the Minister for his thorough response to these amendments. On my noble friend’s Amendment 243, I was pleased that the Minister said that the Government will continue to provide funds for assets of community value, but just providing funds does not address the problem that many communities do not have the capacity to put the bids together in the first place. That is our main concern here. It looks like we are again waiting to hear the detail—this time about what will be in the NDMPs. I guess we will be updated on this later on in the Bill, but I am sure we will return to it when we get to those particular clauses.

On Amendment 246, it is good that the Minister talked about the Government’s improvements in this area but, again, this comes back to the fact that more needs to be done to support all communities’ abilities to put together suitable bids and plans. Some communities are not able to; they do not have that ability. So it is not about the amount available—it is making sure that all communities have proper access and are able to put together suitable bids.

On the local heritage lists in Amendment 243, one of our concerns is that they do not have any standing in planning law, so there is a big gap between what has listed status and what is available to go on to local heritage lists. We think that local authorities should be able to determine that degree of protection, which they currently cannot, for buildings on their heritage lists. The noble Lord, Lord Shipley, said that many local authorities do not even know about them, so there is an issue there that the Government could perhaps take a look at.

The noble Earl, Lord Lytton, made some good points—he is always extremely clear about his concerns—and I am sure he will want to come back to discuss them further. My noble friend Lady Andrews made some really important points, as did the noble Lord, Lord Carrington of Fulham, when he supported her. She said that there had been a long-standing failure to protect our historic environment. Our amendments work with hers quite well to try to look at the bigger picture and strengthen protections. The noble Baroness made the important point that planning departments are really strapped, so they need more help to protect buildings from demolition. Developers have a lot of money and often a lot of resources available to them, but local authorities do not have those resources or the people. If the Minister is able to look at my noble friend’s second amendment again, that would be extremely helpful—there could potentially be some way forward. He seemed to agree with much of what she said, so perhaps he could suggest a similar amendment on Report, which would be helpful.

The noble Lord, Lord Carrington of Fulham, made a good point about certain iconic buildings that have disappeared. I am sure that all of us can think of similar buildings in our own communities that have gone, and it has really shocked people when they have been demolished unexpectedly, even when there was already an agreement that they would not be demolished.

So this is a good group of amendments, and I hope that the Minister will consider some of the arguments further. In the meantime, I beg leave to withdraw.

Amendment 243 withdrawn.

Clause 95 agreed.

Clause 96: Temporary stop notices in relation to listed buildings

Amendment 244 not moved.

Clause 96 agreed.

Clause 97 agreed.

Clause 98: Removal of compensation for building preservation notice