Government seeks to increase constraints on developments near World Heritage sites such as Stonehenge

Developments near World Heritage sites such as Stonehenge and the Tower of London could be subject to even greater planning constraints, under new government plans.

Stonehenge World Heritage site

The Communities Department plans to increase the protection of English World Heritage sites to prevent small scale development without specific planning permission.

It is also considering changing the planning rules so that all major planning applications on World Heritage Sites would automatically be subject to a national '”call-in” decision.

Communities minister Baroness Andrews today announced planning authorities would have greater control over small-scale development on all 17 English World Heritage Sites, which include the Tower of London, Hadrian's Wall, the Ironbridge Gorge, Maritime Greenwich and Durham Castle.

The change to planning rules would mean that minor work such as artificial cladding, roof alterations or the installation of dormer windows could be blocked.

The government wants to put all the sites on the same footing as conservation areas, national parks and areas of outstanding beauty by including them in national planning protection rules.

Baroness Andrews said: “We are changing the planning rules to give all English World Heritage Sites the best protection from potentially damaging developments that could threaten the authenticity, accessibility and charm or character of our most important places."