Under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 it is the duty of the department of Culture Media and Sport to compile a list of buildings of special architectural or historic interest. This register contains details of the location of the listed building and a brief description of the important historic elements that make up the building. The list is held by the Council.
The main criteria are:
All buildings built before 1770 and which survive in anything like their original condition are listed. Most buildings built between 1700 and 1840 are listed. Those erected after 1840 may be listed depending upon their particular quality. It is now the case that buildings less than 30 years old my be listed if they are of outstanding quality or under threat.
Once listed, buildings are divided into 3 grades I, II and II*. This grading has no legal basis. No listed buildings are of a lesser importance than others because of their grading.
Every part of the building is listed including the interior. In addition to the building itself it has been considered that the following also fall within the definition of the listed building:
Even if a feature (internal or external) is not included in the description, it does not mean that it is not of interest and it is still part of the listed building.
Owners of listed buildings must be aware that they are looking after an important part of the nation's heritage. When a listed building is taken on the owner or occupier effectively becomes its temporary guardian responsible for its welfare.
Listed building control is much more rigorous than is the case for more conventional buildings and owners and occupiers must be willing to accept this. Consent will be required to demolish a listed building (and normally it will not be granted). Consent will be required for any extension together with alteration or refurbishment which would affect its character.
It is a criminal offence to carry out work to a listed building without prior listed building consent, even if you did not know that the building was not listed.
Regular maintenance and minor like-for-like repairs do not always need need listed building consent but it always advisable to check with the Council beforehand. Internal alterations such as the removal of historic doors, fireplaces or plasterwork, the removal of floors, re-roofing and the replacement of external doors or windows are amongst the matters that would require listed building consent. This would also be the case for exterior painting. However, repainting or redecoration or the installation of new bathroom or kitchen fittings would not normally require consent. If the provision of such fittings requires alterations to the drainage system or changes to walls, it is possible that listed building consent would be required because of the physical works involved.
It is inappropriate to 'modernise' a listed building in the manner regularly found on other buildings. Unacceptable examples of this include the introduction of upvc windows, the use of replacement 'period' doors, the use of concrete roof tiles. Conservatories are not a form of extension that can satisfactorily be made to the majority of listed buildings.
Advice on all matters is available from the Council and you are strongly recommended to make contact.
The actual application process is very similar to the planning application process but different forms are used.
Advice to owners or developers or their agents is an important part of the listed building application process. This Council's Conservation Officers are available to discuss any proposal before you make an application. Except for the most simple of applications, it is advisable to employ an agent who is familiar with the relevant policies and procedures.
If in doubt always check if planning permission or listed building consent is required.
It is always the aim to keep listed buildings in their original use. If this use no longer exists, another use might be acceptable depending upon the degree of harm that might occur to the listed building. Many buildings can sustain some sensitive alterations or extensions to accommodate new uses but you should be aware of the fact that listed buildings vary greatly in the extent to which they can be changed without harm occurring.
Detailed advice is contained in the Government's Planning Policy Guidance Note 15 - Planning and the Historic Environment.
In the case of deliberate neglect or long term vacancy, a listed building is put upon the register of Buildings at Risk. The Council monitors Buildings at Risk and seeks long term solutions for neglected, redundant or derelict listed buildings. The Council has legal powers to serve an Urgent Works Notice or Repairs Notice on a listed building owner, requiring works to be carried out to prevent further decay. In extreme cases the Council can do the work at the owner's cost to compulsorily purchase a Building at Risk.
If you are aware of a historic building which is either derelict or not being properly preserved you can contact the Council who will inspect the building and advise you what action is possible.
We can provide informal advice may be obtained from with regard to listed buildings and potential works to them.