Did you know that Bristol City Council recently published The Bristol Local List ?

Well they have and it was done in October 2015. This followed a public consultation process where people were asked to nominate buildings for inclusion, which were assessed by the Architecture Centre and a panel of experts.

What’s The Local List?

This is a document that lists buildings, structures and sites that aren’t Scheduled Ancient Monuments, or Listed buildings or aren’t in a Conservation Area, but are considered to be worthy of preservation because of their quality, style or historic importance. Ok so these aren’t good enough for statutory protection, but we Bristolians think they add huge value to our city and to our local communities and so deserve some form of protection.

It contains things as diverse as parish boundary markers, flood level signs, post boxes, houses, hospitals, churches, pubs, pumping stations, railway stations and signal boxes, schools and museums. So it covers simple and ornate architecture. The obvious and the overlooked. The exciting and the mundane. It already demonstrates that any type of building, structure or site can be included. Nothing is too off the wall for consideration and therefore inclusion.

The Local List is an evolving document. Buildings, structures and sites can continue to be nominated for inclusion every six months. With the Panel assessing up to 15 new nominations at a time on the basis of five criteria: 1. their architectural interest, 2. their historic importance, 3. their artistic interest, 4. their archaeological interest and 5. their community value.

But Why Does This Matter To Me?

Fundamentally this is a document that is used by the Council as part of the development control process. So you need to know what’s on it.

Whilst inclusion on the Local List doesn’t afford a building, structure or site statutory protection to prevent development it means that it’s on the Council’s radar and they will want to protect it. This could mean encouraging its retention and integration into a scheme as opposed to its demolition. It could also form the basis of an application for formal listing or allocation as a building of local character or merit in a Conservation Area Management Plan, if the area in which it is located is covered by a Conservation Area at a future point in time. It also means that if you own this building, structure or site the hope is that you will take a bit more pride in it and look after it better.

So if you’re an owner of a building, a structure, or site that is a bit old or unusual and has some community value or if you are a developer looking to purchase this type of site then you should check to see if it’s on the Local List.

OR if you just want to secure protection for a building that you think warrants it, subject to the assessment criteria, check the List to see if it’s already there and if not you can apply to have it included.

Our View And Some Advice

Make sure when you are checking sites in the early stages of the development of a scheme or the feasibility of buying a site that you check the relevant planning policy context and also undertake a heritage check. So as well as checking to see if it’s a listed building or in a Conservation Area make sure you also check to see if it’s on the Local List.

If you are the owner or a developer looking to buy a locally listed building, structure or site, don’t panic too much. Inclusion doesn’t mean statutory protection and it doesn’t prevent development. Designation can be challenged if this is a huge issue for you. And your permitted development rights still apply.

But if you can retain and integrate a locally listed building or structure, then do it, as this will be the Council’s starting point. These buildings have a life and a quality of their own and add value to the areas they’re in. Their retention will enhance a scheme. And as they have already been identified by local communities as valuable, their retention will encourage support and reduce opposition to any re-development plans. Always a good thing!

Anyone can nominate something for the Local List. So if there is a building, structure or site in your neck of the woods that you think is important then take a look at the assessment criteria in The Bristol Local List and give it a go.

So on balance although this doesn’t provide statutory protection we do think the LOCAL LIST = MORE PROTECTION FOR LOCAL BUILDINGS.