English Heritage is taking a stand against “enabling developments”, whereby developers help to fund the restoration or conversion of listed buildings by introducing commercial elements into schemes.

A new policy statement launched this week, Enabling Development and the Conservation of Heritage Assets, states that English Heritage has “become increasingly concerned by the damage caused by developments put forward primarily as a way of benefiting heritage assets, but which destroy more than they save”.

A spokesperson said: “We have brought out this policy to tighten up a loophole in green-belt development. Most enabling developments relate to green-belt areas, typically where a developer offers to restore a large country house in return for developing housing for sale or a golf course.”

English Heritage now proposes that there should be a general bias against enabling developments unless they meets the criteria listed in the policy statement.

The key criterion is that: “The enabling development will not materially detract from the archaeological, architectural, historic or landscape interest of the asset or materially harm its setting.”