What are listed buildings?
Listed Buildings are buildings or structures considered to be of special architectural or historic interest and are designated by the Secretary of State. There are three classifications of Listed Buildings; Grade I, Grade II* and Grade II. Grades I and II* are buildings of outstanding architectural or historic interest, Grade II are of significant interest and make up the majority of Listed Buildings in the UK.
When a building is listed, it is the entire building that is included, not just those features referred to in the description. The listing generally covers:
- The whole building including its interior, exterior, walls, floors and fixed features such as windows, doors, staircases, plaster work and fireplaces;
- Any object or structure physically attached to it, such as a garden wall or extension;
Any freestanding building built within the curtilage that was erected before 1 July 1948, such as outbuildings, barns, garden structures and walls.
What needs consent…?
You are required to apply for Listed Building Consent if you intend to carry out any internal or external alterations to a Listed Building or Structure. Planning permission and/or Building Regulation Approval may also be required (check with the Local Planning Authority)
Normally repairs and maintenance will not require consent when they are carried out on an exact like-for-like basis, using traditional materials. However, if the repair involves a large amount of replacement or alteration, even if desirable, the works may require consent. The most common example of this is undertaking repairs to a timber frame building.
Changes to kitchen or bathroom fittings do not normally require Listed Building Consent. Works such as plumbing and wiring may need consent if substantial historic fabric will be lost to accommodate their installation. Existing routes and openings should always be used wherever possible.
The introduction of damp treatments nearly always requires Listed Building Consent and should only be considered after all other options have been exhausted. If you have damp in your historic building, please seek advice from the Conservation Officer prior to undertaking any works or surveys.
The difference between repair and alteration can often be difficult to determine and it is advisable to check with the Conservation Officer before commencing works to a Listed Building.
Applying for consent
You can apply for Listed Building Consent online using the Planning Portal or you can download the application forms and guidance notes from the Application Form page of this website.
It may be useful to contact the Conservation Officer to discuss your proposals prior to submitting an application as this may help avoid unnecessary works or delays. It may also be prudent to employ an architect who is experienced in working with historic buildings, especially when works are complicated.
N.B. It is a Criminal Offence to carry out works to a Listed Building without first obtaining the necessary consents. Work must NOT start before consent has been granted.
How can I find out if a property is listed?
The National Heritage List for England (external link) can be used to search for all designated heritage assets, including Listed Buildings (changes to buildings names and numbers are not shown).
It is important to note that the listing may only identify the principal building, however as detailed above, the legislation also provides statutory protection for many buildings or structures within the curtilage of a listed building.
If you believe a property to be of sufficient quality to merit listing or believe the information held about your listed building to be incorrect, an application to add to or amend the list can be made by the Conservation Officer on your behalf or through the English Heritage (external link) website directly.
Can I carry out emergency works to a Listed Building?
Emergency works can be carried out without prior consent, providing you can prove the following:
- That the works were urgently necessary in the interest of public safety or for the preservation of the building;
- It was not practical to secure public safety or preserve the building by means of temporary repair or shelter;
- That only the minimum necessary intervention was carried out;
- That notice, in writing, be submitted to the council as soon as is reasonably possible, justifying in detail the works carried out.
If you find yourself in a situation where you believe such works are necessary you should contact (external link) the Conservation Officer immediately, ideally before undertaking any works.