Notes on Listed Buildings

What Is A Listed Building?

A listed building in the United Kingdom is a building or other structure officially designated as being of special architectural, historical or cultural significance. It is a widely used status, applied to around half a million buildings.

A listed building may not be demolished, extended or altered without special permission from the local planning authority (who typically has to consult the relevant central government agency, particularly for significant alterations to the more notable listed buildings).

Grade I: buildings of outstanding architectural or historic interest.
Grade II*: particularly significant building of more than local interest.
Grade II: buildings of special architectural or historic interest.
Grade III: buildings of historical value, a non-statutory and now obsolete grade.

Grade III buildings were those which, whilst not qualifying for the statutory list, were considered nevertheless to be of some importance. Many of these buildings are now considered to be of special interest by current standards - particularly where they possess "group value" and are being added to the statutory lists as these are revised. Often found in conservation areas.

Owners of listed buildings are, in some circumstances, compelled to repair and maintain them and can face criminal prosecution if they fail to do.

Owners of listed buildings can be prosecuted for carrying out unauthorised works to a listed building, as it is a criminal offence to do so. Before that stage is reached, a planning authority can insist that all work undertaken without consent is reversed.

What Can And Can’t You Do?

If you wish to demolish a listed building, alter, extend or make changes to the façade of the property and its land in anyway that affects its character as a building of special interest, you must first apply for listed building consent from your local planning authority. Each and every application for listed building consent is treated individually on an indevidual case basis. Therefore what may be approved for one property may not be approved for another.

Each building is different and so there are no sweeping rules for what you can or can’t do without consent. Most buildings are very flexible but consent is needed for anything that might risk taking away what makes that building special. Listed status covers a whole building, inside and out. Repairs that match exactly may not need consent, but examples of work which may do include changing/ replacement windows and doors, knocking down internal walls, painting over brickwork or altering fireplaces.

The owner of a listed building has to apply to their local authority for Listed Building Consent. The first step should be to ask the authority's Conservation Officer if your proposals are likely to be accepted before making a formal application, saving you the time and money of an unsuccessful application. Your local authority will give you the appropriate form for making your application.

How Can I Replace Or Repair Windows Or Doors On A Listed Building?

When a building has been listed it is protected by law and Listed Building Consent must be obtained before any changes are made to it. Repairs that match exactly may not need consent, but examples of work which may do include changing windows and doors ‘.as the effect of any repairs is not always straightforward’.

Listed Building Consent is required, and will not normally be permitted, for replacement windows and doors (including interior doors) unless they replicate the original or existing design and materials.

Heavier sectioned or differently detailed (such as method of opening) uPVC or standard aluminium windows would be unsatisfactory replacements. Almost all the listed buildings (and buildings in conservation areas) have wood sliding sash windows or wood casement windows (with glazing bars in some instances) all being single glazed, and wood paneled doors (partially glazed in some instances).

Some buildings still retain their original metal windows; these should be repaired and retained where possible. This is an instance where our Royale Steel Windows and Heritage windows may be (and have in the past been) approved or our secondary Glazing could be fitted rather than replacing the windows with expensive steel windows. Remember this would need to be approved by your local planning authority before you undertake any work on the property.

Peak District National Park Advice:

  • Retain original windows, repairing wherever possible.
  • Draught strip existing windows.
  • Install ssecondary glazing.
  • Renew, if necessary, with exact replicas or similar.
  • Avoid modern-style windows.
  • Avoid double glazed windows.

The design of ssecondary double glazing, if required for additional insulation or noise reduction, should reflect the design of the principal windows. Consent may be refused for designs, which alter the character or appearance of the window or facade. This is why here at Complete we will arrange the manufacture of custom-built ssecondary glazing to meet your exact requirements.

Exempt From The Regulations

Much of our work involves installation in heritage and listed buildings and in many cases Heritage Buildings are actually exempt from the regulations. The Building Regulations (Part L1B for Existing Dwellings and Part L2B for Existing Buildings Other Than Dwellings) both allow exemptions in the case of heritage buildings. These exemptions apply if compliance with the new energy efficiency requirements would alter the character or appearance of heritage buildings or even risk a deterioration of the building fabric.

For existing dwellings and existing non-dwellings the exempt buildings are as follows:

  • Listed in accordance with section 1 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990:
  • in a conservation area designated in accordance with section 69 of that Act; or
  • included in the schedule of monuments maintained under section 1 of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas 1979

Also exempt are:

  • buildings which are of architectural and historical interest and are covered in a local authority's development plan or local development framework;
  • buildings which are or architectural and historical interest within national parks, areas of outstanding natural beauty etc;
  • buildings of traditional construction with permeable fabric that both absorbs and readily allows the evaporation of moisture.

Useful Links - Listed Property Owners Club, a group of enthusiastic owners who provide advice and information gained from personal experience to other members. - UK Government's online planning and building regulations resource for England and Wales.

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