What is a listed building?
A listed building is a building, object or structure that is judged to be of national historical or architectural interest and as such is included on a special register.
Our planning team is responsible for local control of works to listed buildings.
We can also provide specialist advice and guidance on proposed listed building works.
The Heritage Gateway provides a useful source of information about listed buildings and other historic sites.
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*
- Grade II
Controls on alterations apply equally to all listed buildings whatever the grade.
Criteria for listing
The main criteria used in deciding which buildings to include on the statutory list are:
- 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
- Group value: Especially where buildings comprise an important architectural or historic group or a fine example of planning, such as squares, terraces or model villages
Historic England has published listing selection guides.
How a building is listed
Buildings are added or removed from the list by the Secretary of State, on the advice of specialist inspectors employed by Historic England. A building is added in one of three ways:
- Periodic re-survey of a borough or district
- Studies of particular building types, for example, post-war housing
- Spot listing of individual buildings under threat
Owners don't have to be consulted before a building is listed, but unless an inspector is aware of a specific threat, they'll contact the owner. There's no right of appeal against a listing and no right to compensation for loss of redevelopment opportunities.
How to get a building listed or de-listed
Requests will be considered as long as they're 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't be considered. Such requests should be made through the Historic England website. You don't need to be the owner of the building.
Requests won't normally be considered for de-listing when:
- There's a current application for listed building consent relating to the building
- There's an appeal against refusal of consent
- Any legal action is being taken 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
- Any other historical information on the building
Information included in listing
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.
The effects of listing
You'll need our consent to demolish a listed building or for any alteration or extension which would affect its character as a building of architectural or historic interest.
The need for listed building consent is different from planning permission but the process is very similar. You can also apply for a certificate of lawfulness.
It's a criminal offence to carry out works to a listed building without prior listed building consent, even if you didn't know that the building was listed. You could face a fine or prison sentence and you may have to put the building back the way it was.
Can I do work to a listed building?
Regular maintenance and limited repairs that precisely replicate the original detail don't need listed building consent but it would be required if the repairs include the removal of historic material or changes to the character or appearance of that part of the building.
Emergency work can be carried out without prior consent providing you can later prove all the following:
- That the works were urgently necessary in the interest of safety or health or for the preservation of the building
- It wasn't 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
- That notice in writing justifying in detail the work was given to us as soon as reasonably practicable
For further guidance visit the Planning Portal.
Applying for listed building consent
We would encourage you to submit your application online through the Planning Portal. It usually takes eight weeks to process an application.
Our 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's advisable to employ an agent who's familiar with our policies and procedures
Generally, we seek to preserve listed buildings, their settings and any features of architectural or historic interest. We wouldn't normally approve an application to demolish a listed building, allow alterations that would involve the loss of its significance, obscure the original plan form, layout or structural integrity or otherwise diminish the historic value of listed buildings.
We also aim 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. Listed buildings vary greatly in the extent to which they can be changed without harm to their significance.
Our policies on listed buildings are contained within the Local Plan. You should refer in particular to Core policy CP12: Conserving and enhancing environmental and historic assets.
Guidance is also available through the Planning Portal.
Not all listed buildings are cared for by their owners.
In certain cases of deliberate neglect or long-term vacancy, a listed building is put on the register of buildings at risk.
We have legal powers to serve an urgent works notice or repairs notice on the owner of a listed building, requiring repair works to be carried out to prevent further decay. In extreme cases, we can do the work at the owner's cost or compulsorily purchase a building at risk.
Report a building at risk
Contact us and we'll inspect the building and advise you what action we intend to take.