Listing a building marks and celebrates its special architectural and historic interest. It also brings it under the consideration of the planning system so that some thought will be taken about its future.
The older a building is, the more likely it is to be listed.
All buildings built before 1700, which survive in anything like their original condition are listed, as are most of those built between 1700 and 1840. The criteria become tighter with time so that, post-1945, buildings have to be exceptionally important to be listed. A building normally has to be over 30 years old to be eligible for listing.
Categories of listed buildings
- Grade I buildings are of exceptional interest They're sometimes considered to be internationally important. Only 2.5% of listed buildings are Grade I.
- Grade II* buildings are particularly important buildings of more than special interest. 5.5% of listed buildings are Grade II*.
- Grade II buildings are nationally important and of special interest. 92% of all listed buildings are in this class and it's the most likely grade of listing for a homeowner.
Visit the Historic England website to find out more about listed buildings.
Listing does not freeze a building in time. It simply means that listed building consent must be applied for in order to make any changes to that building which might affect its special interest. Listed buildings can be altered, extended and sometimes even demolished within government planning guidance. We use listed building consent to make decisions that balance the site's historic significance against other issues such as its function, condition or viability.
Factors to consider before undertaking work to a listed building
You'll need to apply for listed building consent to demolish, alter or extend a listed building in a manner that would affect its character, as a building of architectural or historic interest.
General maintenance doesn't require listed building consent. However, if repairs included the removal of certain features, or changes to the character of the building, you may require prior consent from the council. Care should be taken in determining the extent of a listing, as listed building consent would be needed for any change that would affect the character of the building. This could be internal, such as fireplaces or doors or externally, such as the colour of exterior paintwork or the replacement of windows.
Listed building consent isn't the same as planning permission. If planned works go beyond permitted limits, you'll still have to submit a full planning application along with your consent forms. You must wait until you receive our decision before starting work.
It's best to seek our advice if you're in any doubt about whether you need listed building consent before you start work to your property.