Recent proposals to designate gasholders as listed buildings shows the importance of the right of appeal introduced in Scotland in 2015.

Listed Buildings

There are approximately 47,000 listed buildings in Scotland. Historic Environment Scotland consider requests for listing, as well as carrying out thematic studies of building types, places or the work of specific architects.

Any structure or erection can be designated as a listed building – eg. telephone boxes, bridges.

Right of Appeal

In 2015, a right of appeal to the Scottish Ministers was introduced, against decisions by HES to list a building, or to amend an entry on the list.

Why Appeal?

Designation as a listed building introduces a requirement for listed building consent, and also restricts permitted development rights under planning. Although this introduces further regulation, and therefore potential cost and delay, it does not necessarily prevent development.

The history of the Granton gas holder shows the difficulties that can arise from the listed building designation. It is, however, an extreme example. The wider site has now been bought by the City of Edinburgh Council.

First Appeal

The first ever listed building designation appeal was in 2017. Lothian Buses appealed unsuccessfully against designation of the Lothian Regional Transport Office (excluding interior and pitched-roofed garages and workshops to the south and west), 3 Murrayburn Road, Edinburgh.

The appeal reporter upheld the designation, despite finding that the fabric of the building has lost some of its authenticity.

This is the only appeal to have been decided so far.

Gasholders

Scotland Gas Networks PLC have submitted appeals against designation of the gasholders at Temple, Provan and Dunfermline.

The outcome of these appeals will be very interesting, as the grounds of appeal raise some fundamental issues:

  • Designation will have a critical impact on economic development
  • Gasholders are not akin to traditional historic/listed buildings and designation has profound adverse effects on operational requirements of a statutory undertaker.
  • Designation will stymie the strategic planning policy objectives for the site
  • Adverse and unacceptable environmental and societal cost.
  • Unreasonable additional costs.
  • The implication of the listing is that the structures should be retained in their current form which is untenable, without Health & Safety implications, and is therefore illogical.