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Listed and historic buildings
What is a listed building?
A listed building is one which has been included in a national list of buildings of special architectural or historic interest by Historic England. These buildings are listed in recognition of their special merit and to safeguard them from unsympathetic alteration and demolition. The buildings are selected according to special criteria laid down by the government.
A wide variety of buildings are listed, for example, houses, barns, bridges, statues and walls.
A building is listed equally inside as well as out and applies to all elevations. Listed status applies to internal fixtures and fittings, for example fireplaces and doorcases. It also applies to structures within the curtilage (boundary) of the building, for example the boundary wall or outbuildings.
For further advice as to the extent of listing please contact us on 01636 650000.
I own a listed building – how does this affect me?
The owner of a listed building has a special responsibility to maintain it in a sound state of repair and to respect its special character.
Listed building consent may be required if alterations to either the interior or exterior of the building are contemplated.
Listed building consent
Listed building consent is required for any works which alter the special architectural or historic interest of the building. In this instance ‘building’ can include any structure within the curtilage (boundary) of the site. Listed building consent must be obtained prior to works being carried out and any schedule of works should allow time for the application to be processed.
Generally you will require listed building consent if you are proposing to:
- Alter the external appearance of the property
- Alter the physical characteristics of the building, either internally or externally
- Demolish any part of the building, including interior partitions
- Extend the building
Examples of the type of work that require consent include:
- Replacement or alteration of windows, doors or roof lights
- Painting of previously unpainted surfaces
- Addition of any type of cladding
- Attachment of objects to the building, such as satellite TV dish, meter boxes, burglar alarm boxes, external lights
- Replacements or alteration of gates or boundary walls
- Replacement or roof covering, alterations to other buildings on the property
The above list is by no means exhaustive and advice should be sought before carrying out any work. We ask that all requests for advice be submitted in writing with as much information about the proposed works as possible, including plans and / or photographs.
Applications for listed building consent will require a detailed level of supporting information. Some of these works may also require an application for planning permission.
How do I know if my building is listed?
Listed status is a local land charge and you should be notified as part of the searches when a property is purchased.
If the property is listed after you have purchased it you will be notified.
The Council maintains a list of listed buildings within the district, which can be viewed at our offices at Castle House.
Please be aware that this list sometimes identifies buildings by name, which can change over time.
Also that curtilage listed structures may not be listed here. The absence of a building from this list does not definitively mean it is not listed and we strongly recommend you contact a conservation officer to confirm.
A further useful link is the Images of England website, which is a searchable digital photograph library of Listed Buildings.
Getting a building ‘listed’
Any requests to get a building listed must be sent to Historic England directly, who are the deciding body here - the decision is not made by the local planning authority.
Similarly, any applications to de-list a building must also be made to English Heritage.
Repairs and maintenance to listed buildings
The owner of a listed building has a special responsibility to maintain it in a sound state of repair. As a general rule it is always preferable to repair, rather than replace original features. Most listed and historic buildings were built of a construction and design that is very different from modern buildings. It is, therefore, very important that traditional repairs be carried out.
Where a repair is carried out on a strictly like for like basis then listed building consent is not required, for example decayed pointing must be matched with new mortar of a similar colour, mix and finish to the historic. Where a new repair technique is considered then listed building consent may be required.
A condition survey is carried out periodically on all listed buildings and the results collated in the Heritage at risk database.
Repairs and maintenance to historic buildings
Historic buildings are often over 150 years old and their construction and design is usually very different to modern buildings. It is, therefore, very important that traditional repairs, appropriate to the materials and age of the building, be carried out in historic buildings. We can offer specialist advice on the most appropriate repair techniques.
Download our booklet How to Repair Historic Buildings (PDF File, 523kb)
We have produced several design guides which might be of help to anyone considering alterations to a listed or historic building.