Conservatives back calls for special protection of iconic views

Conservatives in Bath and North East Somerset have backed calls for a new special protection to be created in law for iconic and cherished views.

A recent article in the Telegraph by Conservative MP for Weston-Super-Mare and former Heritage Minister John Penrose called for a new system to be created to protect views similar to that of listed buildings. In his article, Mr Penrose cites Bath’s Royal Crescent as an example of such a view.

The idea would be to simplify the current system, whereby issues such as a site’s status as a World Heritage Site or Conservation Area are taken into account when making planning decisions. Under the proposed ‘listing’ system, particular views and streetscapes would instead be given special protection, making the system more straightforward for developers whilst ensuring that iconic views are preserved for future generations.

Conservative councillors in Bath and North East Somerset have given their backing to the idea and are calling on the Council to lobby the Government to consider introducing such a system, or investigating whether a similar scheme could be implemented locally.

Councillor Geoff Ward, Conservative Shadow Cabinet Member for Homes and Planning, said:

“We think the idea of creating a ‘listed’ status for iconic views is an excellent one. Clearly in an area like Bath and North East Somerset there are many cherished views which could benefit from such a protection, be it of our picturesque countryside or views of Bath’s cityscape.

“I do not believe the idea would prevent entirely any changes or development taking place within the area of the ‘listed’ view, but it would ensure that the character of the view is preserved. It would also simplify a complicated planning system, where many different rules currently apply when considering a building’s impact on views.

“We would like to see B&NES lobby organisations such as Natural England and English Heritage, as well UNESCO, to work with Government to see if such a system could be developed. In addition, the Council could see what powers it has to implement something similar locally.”