Statutory register - listed buildings
A 'listed building' is a building, object or structure that has been judged to be of national historical or architectural interest.
It is included on a register called the "List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest", drawn up by English Heritage, under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.
In the Act any object or structure fixed to the building and any object or structure within the curtilage of the building, which although not fixed to the building, forms part of the land and has done so since before 1st July 1948, are also treated as part of the listed building.
The Historic England website has information relating to listed buildings.
What are the different grades of listing?
Listed buildings are placed in one of three grades, which give an indication of their relative importance - grade I, grade II* or grade II.
Grade I and II* listed buildings are a small proportion (about 6% nationally) of all listed buildings. They are particularly important to the nation's built heritage as buildings of outstanding architectural or historic interest.
The remaining buildings are listed Grade II and represent an important part of our built heritage which is given special protection.
Grading can be changed where re-evaluation takes place after damage or alteration, or as more evidence of a building's history or architectural quality comes to light. But the statutory controls on alterations apply equally to all listed buildings whatever the grade.
What are the criteria for listing?
The following are the main criteria, which the English Heritage uses in deciding which buildings to include on the statutory list:
- architectural interest: Buildings of importance because of their design, decoration and craftsmanship; also important examples of particular building types and techniques and building of significant plan forms;
- historic Interest: Illustrations of important aspects of the nation's social, economic, cultural or military history;
- historic Association: Close historical association with nationally important people or events; and
- group value: especially where buildings comprise an important architectural or historic group or a fine example of planning e.g. squares, terraces or model villages.
The older a building is, and the fewer the surviving examples of its kind, the more likely it is to have historic importance. All buildings built before 1700 which survive in anything like their original condition are listed and most buildings built between 1700 and 1840 are listed. Buildings erected after 1840 may be listed where they are, the best examples of particular building types and only buildings of definite quality and character are listed. Buildings that are less than 30 years old, are normally listed only if they are of outstanding quality and under threat. Buildings are not listed until they are at least 10 years old.
How is a building listed?
A building is added in one of 3 ways:
- periodic re-survey of a borough or district;
- studies of particular building types e.g. post-war housing; and
- spot listing of individual buildings under threat.
There is no requirement to consult the owners before a building is listed but unless an inspector is aware of a specific threat, they will contact the owner or leave a visiting card.
There is also no right of appeal against a listing and no right to compensation for loss of redevelopment opportunities.
How can I get a building listed or delisted?
English Heritage will consider a request to review a listing providing the request is accompanied by new evidence relating specifically to the architectural or historic interest of the building.
Evidence about a building's condition and cost of repairing or maintaining it or redevelopment plans can not be considered by English Heritage. If you want a building to be listed or a listing to be reconsidered, click here.
You do not need to be the owner of a building. English Heritage does not normally consider a request for de-listing when:
- there is a current application for listed building consent relating to the building;
- there is an appeal against refusal of consent; and
- if any legal action is being taken by the Local Authority.
Any request for a listing review should be accompanied by:
- a justification for adding (or deleting) a building;
- location plan;
- clear up-to-date photographs; and
- any other historical information on the building.
What information does listing include?
The Statutory List includes a description of each building, which may refer to some, but not all, important features of an historic building. Every part of a building is listed, including the interior and any later alterations or additions. Even if a feature (internal or external) is not included on the description, it does not mean that it is not of interest and it is still part of the listed building.
What are the effects of listing?
It is a criminal offence to carry out works to a listed building without prior listed building consent - even if you did not know that the building was listed. Carrying out unauthorised work is punishable by a fine or a prison sentence and the Council can require you to put the building back to the way it was.
Can I do work to a listed building?
This Authority advises that works of repair and maintenance do not usually need listed building consent. The terms 'repair' and 'maintenance' are defined by the document Conservation Principles - policies and guidance (English Heritage 2008).
'Repair - work beyond the scope of maintenance to remedy defects caused by decay, damage or use, including minor adaptation to achieve a sustainable outcome but not involving restoration or alteration.'
'Maintenance - routine work regularly necessary to keep the fabric of a place in good order.'
Therefore it would remain with the individual to check whether the level of works proposed would need any consent. The complete replacement of a feature such as window or door will always need listed building consent.
Internal works such as re-painting or renewing of modern kitchen or bathroom fittings do not usually affect the historic fabric of the building and as such do not require consent.
Works that affect the historic fabric of the building such as removing fireplaces or roof or floor timbers will need consent prior to works being carried out.
Advice is available from on what works are repair and what need consent.
Can I do emergency work to a listed building?
- that the works were urgently necessary in the interest of safety or health or for the preservation of the building;
- it was not practical to secure public safety or health or preserve the building by works of repair or temporary support or shelter;
- that the work was limited to the minimum measures immediately necessary; and
- that written notice of work was given to the council as soon as practicable. The information should include photographs and /or plans and sketches of the works carried out and justification as to why this was necessary.
How do I apply for listed building consent?
You will need to fill in a . The listed building consent process is very similar to the planning process and for most cases it will take 8 weeks to process an application.
Advice to owners or developers and their professional agents is an important part of the listed building application process and the Council's Conservation Officer is available to discuss your proposal before you submit your application. Advice can be given on appropriate alterations and extensions to historic buildings. Except for the most simple applications it is advisable to employ an agent who is familiar with the policies and procedures of the council.
If you are in any doubt, you should check with if planning permission or listed building consent is needed before starting any work to a listed building.
What policies apply to listed buildings?
Generally, the Council seeks to preserve listed buildings, their settings and any features of architectural or historic interest. We would not normally approve an application to demolish a listed building, allow alterations that would involve the loss of historic parts of the building, obscure the original plan form, layout or structural integrity, or otherwise diminish the historic value of listed buildings.
The Council also aims to keep listed buildings in their original use, or if this use no longer exists, in another use that causes least harm to the building. Many buildings can sustain some sensitive alterations or extensions to accommodate continuing or new uses, although listed buildings vary greatly in the extent to which they can be changed without harm to their special architectural or historic interest.
The National Planning Policy Framework (PDF) [869KB] (opens in new tab) encourages a positive strategy for the conservation and enjoyment of the heritage environment.
What can the Council do about neglected listed buildings?
The Council monitors Buildings at Risk and seeks long term solutions for neglected, redundant or derelict listed buildings. Some of the buildings are the subject of refurbishment proposals and will be removed from the register when works are complete.
The Council has legal powers to serve an Urgent Works Notice or Repairs Notice on a listed building owner, requiring repair works to be carried out to prevent further decay. The notice will specify the works, which are considered reasonably necessary for the preservation of the building. An Urgent Works Notice is restricted to emergency repairs only - for example works to keep a building wind and weather-proof and secure against vandalism. A Repairs Notice is not restricted to urgent works and may include works to preserve architectural details but can not be used to restore lost features.
In extreme cases where building owners have not taken reasonable steps to preserve a listed building, the Council can do the work at the owner's cost or compulsorily purchase a Building at Risk.
How do I report a Building at Risk?
If you are aware of an historic building which is either derelict or not being properly preserved you can , who will inspect the building and advise you what action they intend to take.