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Building Control Plans

Planning records of local authorities are a good source of information for house or local historians, especially those investigating a specific building.  

Although planning applications date back many centuries, it is mostly the records dating from the late 19th and 20th centuries that survive. Planning regulations were introduced through a series of local and national Acts of Parliament to control unsafe or unsanitary building. These were prompted by epidemic outbreaks and by reports on public health and housing. The 1858 Local Government Act specifically covered building regulation through bye-laws and laid the foundations of all further building legislation, although local Acts remained in force in some areas.

Building control plans can be found in the records of local authorities, although the holdings vary. More recent records, particularly those following the 1947 Act for planning registration, are retained by local authorities at their own offices in most cases. There is no obligation for these authorities to retain planning records indefinitely, and there are many gaps in the surviving records. Some surviving collections contain only the more unusual applications, such as churches and factories. Additionally, the records of some local authorities include plans of local authority housing developments.

Staffordshire Record Office holds building plans for:

Biddulph Urban District Council

Cannock Urban District Council

Cheadle Rural District Council

Leek Rural District Council

Leek Urban District Council

Newcastle Borough Council

Rugeley Urban District Council

Stafford Borough Council

Stafford Rural District Council

Stone Rural District Council

Sandwell Archives holds building plans for:

Tipton

Wednesbury

West Bromwich

Walsall Local History Centre holds plans for Walsall

Wolverhampton Archives holds the plans for:

Wolverhampton Borough

Properties in former parts of Cannock Rural District Council, Seisdon Rural District Council and Heath Town Urban District Council.

The holdings for the above authorities vary considerably, with large gaps in places. Please note that most building plan collections are unlisted and not indexed, although registers of applications do survive for some areas. Advance notice is usually required if researchers wish to access this material. Where no plans survive, it is worth checking planning or housing committee minutes in case detailed records were kept in these.

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