Clause 25 - Listed buildings

High Speed Rail (London - West Midlands) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:30 pm on 1 March 2016.

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Question proposed, That the clause stand part of the Bill.

Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

I will attempt to be as brief as I was on the previous clause. This is a very important clause relating to listed buildings, a number of which unfortunately are affected by the construction of HS2. Clause 25 introduces schedule 18, which disapplies or modifies controls for listed buildings to allow the construction of phase 1 of HS2 and enable the monitoring and protection of listed buildings. The buildings affected are listed in tables 1 and 2 in schedule 18, and the disapplications or modifications apply only to those buildings. Similar provisions were included in the Crossrail Act 2008.

The promoter is in the process of agreeing heritage agreements with the relevant local authorities and Historic England. These agreements will put in place an approvals process that will ensure that the works subject to clause 25 and schedule 18 are carried out in an appropriate manner. I stress that we wish to minimise the impact on listed buildings wherever possible; this clause underlines that wish.

Photo of Andy McDonald Andy McDonald Shadow Minister (Transport)

I want to ask for clarification from the Minister. He is absolutely right to highlight the importance of our listed buildings, which are listed because they are treasured and regarded as worthy in cultural or architectural terms. Will the Minister say a little more about how these heritage agreements might preserve the buildings in terms of their make-up? For example, we talked about the ambitions to restore the Euston arch. I think I am right in saying that bits of the Euston arch are scattered to the four winds. Some are in a beck somewhere, some are in a farmyard and others cannot be found. We are going to go through a thoughtful process of how to deal with these listed buildings. What sort of process is in place to try where possible to preserve the elements of a building—as we do with monuments—so that, for example, it can be re-sited somewhere else or otherwise utilised?

Photo of Robert Goodwill Robert Goodwill Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)

I thank the hon. Gentleman for making those reasonable points. In cases where buildings are being destroyed and demolished in order to build the railway, there are no plans to reconstruct them elsewhere. However, other buildings will be affected by vibration or noise and the aesthetic value of others might be reduced by the proximity of the railway. We are conscious of those problems, and that is why the listed building  controls that we are disapplying are done in a sympathetic way. I hope that the hon. Gentleman will be reassured that all works will have to be done in accordance with the environmental minimum requirements. The normal requirement to obtain listed building consent will apply to any of these changes. Although we are conscious that these buildings will be affected in a way that, in an ideal world, we would not wish, we are doing everything that can be done to limit the impact and deal with listed buildings sympathetically.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause 25 accordingly ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Schedule 18 agreed to.