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Listed Buildings

Listed Buildings

  • What is a listed building?

    A Listed Building is a building or structure which is considered to be of ‘special architectural or historic interest’. The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, has a duty under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 to prepare and approve lists of such buildings, with advice from Historic England.

    Listed Buildings in England are graded according to their heritage significance;

    • Grade I buildings are of national importance,
    • Grade II* have some national significance, and
    • Grade II buildings (which form the majority of listed buildings) tend to be of more local significance. No listed building, of whatever grade should be demolished or altered in a way that affects its character as a listed building without formal permission known as ‘listed building consent’.
  • What does owning a Listed Building mean to me?

    Due to their importance, stricter controls exist over listed buildings than any other buildings. This does not necessarily mean that no changes can take place.

    However, any changes need to be carefully justified and considered and for this reason Listed Building Consent must be obtained from your Local Authority.

  • What is Listed Building Consent?

    Listed Building Consent is a separate procedure from planning permission and can be required even in situations where planning permission is not required, for example internal works to the building.

    Consent is required for any demolition of a Listed Building, and for any work, extensions, or alterations (internally or externally) which would affect the character of the building. Even seemingly minor alterations can affect a building’s special interest and character, e.g. the unsuitable positioning of a burglar alarm.

    Routine maintenance is the key to the preservation of Listed Buildings and will often prevent much more expensive work becoming necessary at a later date.

    However even seemingly minor repairs carried out in matching materials, design and form may sometimes require Listed Building Consent and you should consult your local Conservation Officer.

  • What is curtilage listing?

    These are instances where buildings, structures or objects are ‘deemed’ to be listed by virtue of being within the curtilage of a listed building.

    Curtilage listed buildings, structures and objects are afforded the same protection and restrictions imposed as a listed building with its own listing entry.

    The majority of guidance in relation to establishing whether a building, object or structure is curtilage listed derives from Case Law and can be complicated.

  • Is my property curtilage-listed?

    Firstly, you must find out if the building, object or structure in question was within the curtilage of the main listed building on or before 1st July 1948. This may require investigation into such issues as land ownership; use and function of the land and physical relationship. If the building or structure was built after 1948, it cannot be curtilage listed.

    In broad terms one building or structure is likely to be in the curtilage of another if, at the date of listing, there was a clear relationship between the buildings: specifically that one was ancillary (subsidiary) to the principal listed building in function, the buildings had common ownership or occupation and the ancillary building was not so physically detached at the time of listing as to form two separate curtilages.

    In cases where ownerships have been subdivided since 1948 the historic relationship between buildings is still taken into account when considering whether the formerly subsidiary building is curtilage listed. This is a difficult area of law and frequently requires specialist advice.

  • Do I need consent for repairs?

    Regular maintenance and minor ‘like for like’ in-situ repairs do not need listed building consent.

    However, where repairs involve alterations or the complete replacement of historic fabric or features which would affect the character of the listed building, consent will be required.

    If you are in any doubt as to whether the works you are proposing would be classed as repairs, please contact your local Authority with details of your proposals (drawings; sketch plans, photographs etc).

  • What if changes have been made to a listed building without consent?

    As with any unauthorised work, the Authority can take enforcement action to remedy the problem. It is a criminal offence to carry out unauthorised works to a listed building which on conviction can carry a fine, a term of imprisonment in the more serious cases or both.

    Although there is often a four-year limit on taking enforcement action under general planning powers, no such time limit exists in respect of unauthorised works to listed buildings. Therefore, if you are buying a listed building it is important to check with the owner (and if needed with the Authority) that no unauthorised works have been carried out. You or your agent can ask to see any planning permission or listed building consent at the Authority’s planning reception.

    Unauthorised work may need to be undone and the original reinstated. Even if the work is later considered to be reasonable, you may still be prosecuted for carrying out work without authorisation.


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