Listed buildings are designated by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and are defined as buildings of ‘special architectural or historic interest’. Owning or carrying out work on a listed building places a greater responsibility of care to ensure that the integrity of the building is not adversely impacted on. Tight controls apply to both internal and external alterations to the existing fabric of the building as well as extensions and alterations to certain outbuildings, such works are likely to require Listed Building Consent from the Local Planning Authority. If you are unsure whether a property is listed or what grade the listing is this can be checked online by visiting Historic England’s web site: https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/ .
Listed building are categorised into the following grades:
Grade I listed buildings are those of exceptional interest, such as large country houses, churches or castles.
Grade II listed buildings are of special interest and 86% of listed buildings fall into this group. This grade, however, has a sub- group known as Grade II* which is awarded to buildings with some extra merit, for example, a fine interior.
Despite the different grades, it is important to remember that the legislation is the same for all of them. Besides buildings, other structures, such as bridges, milestones, walls and even telephone kiosks, can also be listed.
If you are considering altering your listed building or carrying out development within a Conservation area it is always best
to discuss it informally with the Councils Conservation specialists before having detailed plans drawn up. This can save you both time and money. In order to make a listed building consent application you will require scaled drawings, showing exactly what you propose to do. These should be submitted together with completed application forms. The good news is that there is no fee payable to the Council. Should the application be refused, you have the right to appeal to the Secretary of State.
The legislation allows courts to impose substantial fines and even imprisonment where works are carried out without the relevant consent. This underlines the need to always consult the local authority before carrying out any work affecting a listed building. Owners of listed buildings have a responsibility to keep the building wind and watertight, structurally sound and in a reasonable state of repair.
If an owner neglects the property, the Council has powers under section 48 of the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990 to serve a ‘Repairs Notice’ specifying the extent of works required.
If the owner fails to comply within the time scale specified, the Council may take steps to compulsorily acquire the building to safeguard its future. In the case of an unoccupied or partly occupied listed building, the Council is also empowered under section 54 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 to serve an ‘Urgent Works Notice’ and may carry out works to make the building wind and weather proof and safe from collapse and seek to recover the costs from the owner.
Historic Englands Role
Historic England offer a range of services to support people involved in managing change to the historic environment:
Their Charter for Advisory Services sets out the services they provide and explains when they get involved in planning matters. It also sets out how they handle requests for pre-application and statutory advice.
In most cases local planning authorities will be the first point of contact for advice on proposals for change in the historic environment. Please contact your local Conservation Officer at your local authority in the first instance.
The Heritage at Risk programme helps us understand the overall state of England’s historic sites.
Every year Historic England updates the Heritage at Risk Register. The end result is a dynamic picture of the sites most at risk and most in need of safeguarding for the future. The Register now includes:
- Buildings and structures
- Places of worship
- Archaeological sites
- Conservation areas
- Registered parks and gardens
- Registered battlefields
- Protected shipwrecks