New listed building agreement slashes planning red tape for University of Sussex

Posted On 12 May 2015 at 7:45 am

A groundbreaking new agreement to protect the University of Sussex’s unique listed buildings and streamline the planning process has been signed by Brighton and Hove City Council, Historic England and the university.

Falmer House by Tom Harle on Flickr

Falmer House by Tom Harle on Flickr

The listed building heritage partnership agreement is only the second such agreement in the country – and the first involving a university.

The partnership agreement was formally signed by the council’s chief executive Penny Thompson; vice chancellor of the University of Sussex, Professor Michael Farthing; and Dr Andrew Brown, planning and conservation director for Historic England in the south east.

The University of Sussex was the first of a new wave of universities created in the early 1960s.

The early buildings were designed by the celebrated architect, Sir Basil Spence, and include one Grade l (Falmer House) and seven Grade II* listed buildings. They have many common design features, such as flat roofs, red brick and concrete arches.

The fact that these buildings are listed in the two highest grades is a reflection of their considerable quality and significance. The university has continued to develop the site in sympathy with the early design and site layout.

Penny Thompson, chief executive of Brighton and Hove City Council, said: “We are delighted to be signing this listed building heritage partnership agreement with the University of Sussex and Historic England.

“The agreement means that listed building consent for general or repeated work will be granted without the need for the university to individually apply for consent – cutting red tape and saving time and money.”

Areas covered by the agreement include work to repair or replace the external fabric of buildings, internal fixtures and finishes to upgrade teaching facilities and works to improve safety and accessibility.

The university has carried out best practice for such works for many years and contributed to the current guidelines for listed buildings on the campus. It currently makes several listed building consent applications every year.

Charles Dudley, director of residential and campus services at the university, said: “We are delighted to have reached such an agreement with Historic England and BHCC allowing us to improve our facilities within our listed buildings in a more timely and efficient manner. It also reflects our continuing excellent stewardship of the campus.”

Dr Andy Brown, planning and conservation director for Historic England in the south east, said: “This agreement is a big step forward and clears the way for a schedule of on-going works to be drawn up by Sussex University.

“The LBHPA removes the ‘them and us’ situation and gives the comfort of a team working towards the same goal to protect the nation’s heritage for future generations to appreciate and enjoy.”

The agreement will run for 10 years, subject to periodic review.

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