Listed Building Guidance
Under the Planning (Listed Building and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, buildings that are of special interest can be protected by being listed. There are three levels of listing within England:
- Grade I – Buildings of exceptional interest, only 2.5% of listed buildings are Grade I.
- Grade II* – Particularly important buildings of more than special interest; 5.5% of listed buildings are Grade II*
- Grade II – Buildings of special interest; 92% of all listed buildings are in this class and it is the most likely grade of listing for a home owner.
(These statistics have been sourced from Historic England)
If a building is listed, it is listed in its entirety, which includes external and internal fixtures and fittings, and can often include outbuildings, boundary walls and other garden features. It should be noted that it does not matter on the listing grade on the extent of the protection. Care should be taken as some buildings may be deemed curtilage1 listed, and therefore these require listed building consent.
It should be noted that any works undertaken that are deemed to cause harm to the character or the significance of the building without listed building consent is a criminal act, and prosecution can be an unlimited fine and/or a custodial sentenced of up to two years.
It is possible to undertake like for like maintenance repairs, without obtaining consent. Further guidance can be obtained either by a suitable experience heritage professional or the local authority.
1Curtilage is the original boundary land.
Conservation areas have been designated as an important area by the local authority. These can vary widely, such as industrial areas, areas of historic character or Garden Towns. Though being in a conservation area does not affect any planning rights, additional considerations are undertaken by the Planning Officer for any proposed applications. The Planning Officer is looking for any works that may impact the ‘character or the setting of the conservation area’, i.e. any proposed schemes, developments or alterations that do not work within the area, which can be seen from a public area.
Understanding Character – the character of the property, which includes its setting, creates part of the importance of the property. A building that formed part of a bigger estate, such as gate house, can lose its understanding if built around, the same as a row of workers cottages built for a local factory can lose its significance if the factory is demolished.
Understanding Significance – this is more than just about the age of the building, or who it was designed by. It can include who lived there, technological changes in construction materials, the visual impact it has, or how it is perceived within the village, such as pub or the village hall. Significance can include events that took place there, such as a one off historical event, or it was used for a traditional craft or skill, such as Rope Making or weaving that was important to the area.
Under the National Planning Policy Guidelines (NPPF), the local authority planners are required to understand the significance and impact of any proposed works on any listed building or conservation area (termed as designated heritage asset) or on an locally listed (non-designated heritage asset). As an applicant, you have to justify the proposed work and provide guidance as to whether the proposed works will cause harm or damage to the significance of the heritage asset.
A heritage professional like G Dolden & Associates can help and provide Listed Building Guidance.