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Weekly Edition - Published  11 August 2016


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Port Sunlight in line for national heritage award

PARTNERSHIP working between Wirral Council's Conservation Team and the Port Sunlight Village Trust has resulted in a nomination for a national Heritage award. In 2016, Port Sunlight became only the 2nd area in the country to introduce a Local Listed Building Consent Order (LLBCO), which gives residents 'blanket' consent to make certain alterations to the rear of their properties in that Conservation Area. The work carried out to achieve this order has resulted in the council and the village trust being put forward for an Historic England Angels award. These awards celebrate and reward the efforts of local people in saving their heritage and are co-funded by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation. There are 5 categories of award; best community action project, best contribution to a heritage project by young people, best research project, best rescue of a heritage site and outstanding contribution to heritage.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony at London's Palace Theatre in November and will be presented by Andrew Lloyd Webber. It was only in the closing months of 2016 when Wirral Council's Planning Committee voted unanimously to adopt the Port Sunlight Local Listed Building Consent Order (LLBCO), which grants 'blanket' consent for certain alterations to the backs of the listed houses in the Conservation Area. The Port Sunlight LLBCO became only the 2nd large scale initiative of its kind nation wide, following in the footsteps of the Little Germany area of Bradford. Port Sunlight Village Trust (Trust) worked in partnership with Wirral Council and local residents to develop the LLBCO with the goal of making home ownership a bit easier by simplifying and fast tracking consent for the most common alterations to the houses.  The alterations included in the LLBCO would normally require full Listed Building Consent from Wirral Council and permission from the Trust. Applying for full Listed Building Consent can be a fairly long and uncertain process. Under the LLBCO, permitted works are fully described; taking uncertainty out of the process, and the local planning authority only has 28 calendar days to accept a LLBCO Notice of work. Wirral's Mayor, Cllr Pat Hackett, who was Wirral Council Cabinet member for Economy when the order was granted, said at the time:- "This decision will make it much easier for residents living in the Conservation Area of Port Sunlight to make minor alterations to their properties without having to go through the complete planning process. We are delighted to support the Trust in granting this local consent order."

With over 900 Grade II Listed houses, Port Sunlight has a high concentration of listed sites in private, independent ownership. Typical deteriorated conditions, repetitive listed building consent applications and common heritage enforcement issues (works done without consent) made the village an ideal test case for the newly enacted LLBCO. The Port Sunlight LLBCO includes installation of satellite dishes in appropriate locations and replacement of severely deteriorated or inappropriate rear doors, rear windows and yard gates. The LLBCO specifies the rear window, rear door and yard gates approved under the LLBCO. If residents prefer to install something other than what is specified in the LLBCO, then they will have to apply for full Listed Building Consent.  Paul Harris Chief Executive of Port Sunlight Village Trust said:- "We are thrilled to have been nominated for Best Research Project with Wirral Council. Our joint nomination recognises the significant amount of work that went into the development and adoption of the new LLBCO, and we are very grateful to Historic England for their advice and support throughout the process.  As soon as the LLBCO was adopted it generated a lot of interest from village residents and we already have examples of where it has been used."


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