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How to apply for listed building consent, including what aspect of a building is protected and how to find out if a building is listed.
About listed buildings
A listed building is a building or structure which has been determined as nationally significant and has been formally designated by the Secretary of State. Listed buildings are kept on a list by Historic England, called The List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest.
The list includes a wide variety of structures from stately homes such as Burton Constable, houses and barns, to bridges such as Stamford Bridge, telephone boxes and war memorials. Furthermore, it brings the building under specific consideration within the planning process, and works will usually require listed building consent.
A listed building can be one of three grades:
These buildings are of exceptional interest - only 2.5% of listed buildings are Grade I.
These buildings are particularly important buildings of more than special interest - 5.8% of listed buildings are Grade II∗.
These buildings are of special interest - 91.7% of all listed buildings are in this class and it is the most likely grade of listing for a homeowner.
What the listing protects
It is a common misconception that listing only protects the front elevation and the external appearance, or only what is mentioned within the listing description. This is wrong. A listed status protects the building in its entirety; this includes the exterior, the interior and the fixtures.
Furthermore, a listed status protects the principle listed building as well as any other buildings within the 'curtilage' that pre-date July 1948, these are considered to be 'curtilage listed'.
The curtilage of a house or dwelling is the land immediately surrounding it, including any closely associated buildings and structures such as a garden, access path or outbuilding.
The law states that any buildings or other structures located within the curtilage of the principle listed building and pre-date July 1948, are to be treated as part of the listed building. Working out if a building has curtilage and the extent of the curtilage can be difficult, however it is important because alteration or demolition of a curtilage listed building may require listed building consent.
For more information, please see Advice Note 10: Listed Buildings and Curtilage on the Historic England website.
The listed status means the building is of national significance, and as such is worthy of protection. However, every building has different 'significance' which can only be determined on a case-by-case basis.
Significance can be derived from one or several of the following values:
Refers to the physical remains of a heritage asset, and how that informs us of past human activity.
Often connected to an event or person, historic value also looks at the possibility of a place to illustrate a link between past and present people.
Refers to the ways people experience and gain sensory value from a place. This can either be designed or fortuitous.
Either symbolic/commemorative or social, communal value is how past and present people gain value or meaning from a place.
For more information, please refer to Historic England's Conservation Principles: Policies and Guidance for the Sustainable Management of the Historic Environment.
'Setting' is about being able to appreciate a heritage asset within its surroundings. Although largely visual, setting considers how people experience a heritage asset and can extend beyond logical or physical boundaries. For example, do people move through it in a particular way? Or is there something special that contributes to the atmosphere of the heritage asset? If so, this is important to the setting of a designated heritage asset.
Find out if a building is listed
Find out if a building is listed by searching our interactive planning constraints map:
Alternatively, you can:
Add or remove listed building status
Applications to have a building or historic site listed are managed by Historic England.
It doesn't have to be owned by you, and can be any of the following:
However, there is strict guidance to determine where a building should be protected. Take a look at 'Step 2' on Historic England's application process for more guidance on eligibility.
Historic England will consider applications to remove a building or site from the list if it no longer meets at least one of their criteria, such as historic or architectural interest. Further advice on de-listing can be found on Historic England's website.
You can also apply for a 'Certificate of Immunity' from the Historic England website, which protects a building from being listed for five years.
Buying a listed building
If you are thinking of, or in the process of purchasing a listed building, the council's building conservation team offer specialist or pre-application advice meetings. Whilst there is a small fee for this, it allows a conservation officer to meet you at the property, discuss the constraints of a listed building and go through any potential works you would like to undertake and their respective applications.
Works to a listed building
You must seek 'listed building consent' from the council prior to any works on your listed building. This applies to work carried out both inside and outside and includes demolition, extensions or any alteration affecting the special character of the building.
This is not intended to prevent development, but allows the council's conservation team to monitor change and ensure the work is sympathetic to the character and significance of the listed building.
However, some works, such as 'like for like' replacements or repairs may not require listed building consent.
If you're not sure whether youâ€™ll need to apply for listed building consent, check with the building conservation team before beginning work and we'll be happy to advise.
Please note: there may be additional things you should consider before carrying out work to your listed building, such as a requirement for planning permission, building control services or a tree application in addition to listed building consent.
Apply for listed building consent
An application for listed building consent, similar to planning permission, is subject to a strict validation process. This is so that applications contain equal information which allows for a fair and balanced judgement.
One of the main differences is the mandatory addition of a heritage statement for applications which impact on the historic environment. Read about heritage statements below.
Listed building consent is currently free to apply for; however planning permission may be required in addition. Read more about planning permission and how much it costs.
The aim of a heritage statement is to assess the significance and history of a designated heritage asset, including conservation areas, listed buildings or works considered to be within the setting of a designated heritage asset. Secondly, it should discuss any potential impacts or benefits the development may cause and provide justification for the works.
A heritage statement is an additional, separate document which accompanies a planning application or a listed building consent application and is required by paragraph 189 of the National Planning Policy Framework, which states:
"In determining applications, local planning authorities should require an applicant to describe the significance of any heritage assets affected, including any contribution made by their setting. The level of detail should be proportionate to the assets' importance and no more than is sufficient to understand the potential impact of the proposal on their significance. As a minimum the relevant historic environment record should have been consulted and the heritage assets assessed using appropriate expertise where necessary. Where a site on which development is proposed includes, or has the potential to include, heritage assets with archaeological interest, local planning authorities should require developers to submit an appropriate desk-based assessment and, where necessary, a field evaluation."
A heritage statement must consult the Historic Environment Record (HER) on the Historic England website, as a minimum. Other useful archival material may be found on following websites:
The National Planning Policy Framework states using appropriate expertise such as a heritage consultant, to compile a heritage statement, particularly as a statement of significance should highlight specific architectural or historic details that are easily overlooked.
However, you can create your own heritage statement using our template below which you can download and edit. It also guides you through the various sections.
It is strongly recommended to include photographs and maps as these can illustrate a point or justification you are trying to make.
After you have applied
Listed building consent applications follow the same process as an application for planning permission and usually take a similar amount of time. Read more about how planning applications are processed.
As with planning permission, listed building consent can be 'conditioned'. These conditions are used where necessary to enhance the quality of development or to enable development where it would have otherwise been necessary to refuse permission.
Common conditions for listed building consent include:
If a condition has been placed upon the approved decision notice, then you will need to 'discharge' these conditions either prior to commencement or at a particular stage within the construction as stated within the condition.
The objective of building recording is to make a record of the historic building prior to commencement of works. However, subsequent recordings may also be required during the works if hidden fabric or architectural features are uncovered. There are several levels to building recording. The conservation officer shall specify which recording level is most appropriate for the site.
Level 1 - A basic visual photographic record, sometimes supplemented by minimal information needed to identify the building's location, age, type. A level 1 recording is often only external, unless there is a particular interior detail specified. This type of recording condition is most useful when surveying a group of buildings or an area.
Level 2 - This level is a more descriptive record, with both a visual photographic record of the interior and exterior and a description highlighting the building's development and use. Sometimes other drawings such as plans and sketches may be included.
Level 3 - This is an analytical record including an introductory description followed by a systematic account of the building's origins, construction, development and use. This will also include a fully drawn and photographic record. A level 3 record should consult documentary evidence such as historic Ordnance Survey maps and archives.
Level 4 - This level should be a comprehensive analytical record, similar to level 3, but should expand upon the building's significance in terms of architectural, social, regional or economic history and the range of evidence and drawings should be greater than level 3.
Please note: All photographs should include an appropriately sized scale.
Once completed, the recording should be submitted to Historic England's 'Historic Environment Records (HERs)' to be included within their archives as a matter of public record. You should also notify the building conservation team of this submission.
Joinery details are usually requested when works are occurring to historic joinery or you are proposing replacement joinery within historic buildings. This can include windows, doors, staircases etc.
We require as minimum 1:10 proposed joinery detailed plans. As well as evidence of the existing joinery i.e. plans and/or photographs.
Often the conservation or planning officers request further information on external materials, such as brick type, roof tile or material type, render colour and mortar specifications. This is to ensure the materials are appropriate to the fabric of the listed building or to the character and appearance of the conservation area.
For such conditions the manufacturers' specification/identification is expected as a minimum, however it would be beneficial to also see photographic samples as well. On occasion, the conservation officer may request sample materials to be viewed on site.
Unauthorised works to a listed building
Please be aware that undertaking unauthorised works to a listed building is a criminal offence and we take the protection of heritage assets seriously. There are a number of measures which the council may take when unauthorised works have been undertaken to a listed building which could result in legal proceedings and financial liabilities.
Works undertaken without consent can also lead to difficulties with future sales of the property.
You can report suspected unauthorised works and our conservation team will investigate.
View and comment on current listed building applications
The process for viewing listed building consent applications is the same as for viewing planning applications and is available on the Public Access website: