Casework

Since the foundation of the SPAB in 1877, casework, campaigning and advice has been at the centre of our work. Today in England and Wales, the Society has a statutory role in the secular planning system. As directed by the Secretary of State, the SPAB is one of six National Amenity Societies that must be notified by local planning authorities of all applications that involve the total or partial demolition of a listed building, giving us an opportunity to comment on the proposed scheme. We have a similar role within the ecclesiastical consent systems operated by the religious denominations that are granted exemption from secular listed building controls.

Each of the National Amenity Societies concerned with the conservation of old buildings has particular interests and specialist knowledge in terms of architectural history. For this reason and due to our limited resources the SPAB concentrates on applications concerning buildings with fabric dating from 1720 or earlier.

Generally we are unable to get involved in cases concerning:

  • structures post 1720
  • applications affecting buildings in conservation areas
  • applications affecting the setting of listed buildings
  • the implementation of other heritage controls
  • local planning policy issues.

Please read our Campaign Toolkit for more information on other sources of advice on these issues and other organisations that may be able to assist where we cannot.

 

How to notify the SPAB of a relevent casework application

To notify us officially of an application or to request pre-application advice, please email casework@jcnas.org.uk.

We aspire to log all relevant cases within 5 working days for our casework team's consideration. If you would like to check if your case has been received by the SPAB you can check our publically accessible database

On the homepage click the SPAB icon to be taken to a search page. Here enter the details of your application and select ‘search’. Any relevant applications will be retrieved. Click the link to an application and if there is a green tick against the SPAB’s name in ‘notified organisations’ that means your application has been sent to the relevant caseworker for their consideration.

 

How to alert us to a building at risk

We cannot take up all cases, however, if the fabric of an important historic building is threatened by neglect or proposals for significant alteration please use the following form to make an enquiry.

Recent Cases

Island House is Grade II* listed and dates from the 16th and 17th centuries. Sadly, this important house is now ‘at risk’ and in a parlous state. For nearly 10 years, the council’s attempts to contact the executors to organise repairs have been met with silence. When contacted by a local community group, we were happy to write urging that steps be taken to save the building before it is too late. We hope this will spur both the Council and executors into action.

We believe that the surviving part of the sculptured frieze on the west facade should not be removed. Our view is that maintaining the physical link between building and sculpture is vital, and while erosion may lessen legibility of fabric and sculpture, the stonework’s patina cannot be replicated, and the building’s impact and beauty would be compromised. The long-term effect of imperfect environmental conditions will be further decay, but this can be mitigated through recording and physical conservation techniques.

This house has lain empty for several years but its new owner contacted the SPAB to ask for guidance on proposed repairs. There was already a listed building application for works with the local authority, and these include an extension to accommodate a new kitchen and bathroom. We are supportive of this in principle as the installation of new services can be very invasive when inserted into delicate historic fabric. However, connecting the extension to the main house whilst minimising the loss of historic fabric will be challenging.

The Society is grateful for the partial funding of its casework by Historic England under their National Capacity Building Grant, and Cadw.