When dealing with listed buildings, you will often need listed building consent before making any changes to the property. In this article, we discuss exactly what listed building consent means, when you need it, and how to apply for it.
What is a Listed Building?
In the United Kingdom, buildings of special architectural interest or historical value can become listed. This means that their features are ensured and cannot undergo either internal or external alterations without prior permission from the Government, to preserve their heritage. Before any work can be carried out on a listed building, the relevant local authority must grant you consent first. Additionally, if changes are allowed to be made, then there may be special conditions imposed to maintain the property to preserve its character.
In England, English Heritage works with the Government to identify buildings with special historical or architectural interest. Any building over 30 years old can qualify for protection. Virtually all buildings built before 1700, and most buildings built between 1700 and 1840, will be protected as of special interest. There are approximately 500,000 buildings that have been listed in England.
What is Listed Building Consent?
Listed building consent is a permission granted by your local planning authority which allows you to make specific changes to a listed building. You must apply for listed building consent from your local authority if you seek to alter or extend a listed building in any way that would affect its character or appearance as a building of special interest.
Whether the change is large or small, the decision of whether your proposed changes will affect the character or appearance of the property lies with the local authority. Additionally, many small changes will have a big impact. You are likely to need listed building consent for small changes like inserting a skylight, altering a historic interior, or changing the finish on the outside of your building.
Do I Need Planning Permission as well as Listed Building Consent?
Many sorts of external changes to a building require planning permission, whether it has or does have listed building status. As we’ve talked about in our FAQ on Listed Buildings, the two are not the same; you might need both planning permission and listed building consent if the work you seek to do overlaps both. If you do need both, it is usually quickest to apply for both at the same time.
If you are given planning permission, that does not mean you will receive listed building consent, and vice versa. Carrying out alterations to a property without listed building consent when it would be required is a criminal offence. Individuals can be prosecuted and made to pay a large fine or pay to undo the changes to the property they have made.
Where on my Property is Listed Building Consent Required Before Making Changes?
If your property is listed, then the entirety of it, inside and out, as well as anything fixed to or attached to it are covered by listed building protection. Irrespective of whether particular items are mentioned in its official description by Historic England or recorded elsewhere, the entire property is assumed to be protected and requires listed building consent before making changes. The curtilage of a property might also be preserved as part of the Listed Building.
Is Listed Building Consent Required for Making Repairs?
In most cases, substantial property repair will require listed building consent. If non-urgent repair is needed, you should always contact your local planning authority first to avoid trouble.
That said, some work that might not require permission includes minor rewiring, replacing radiators, re-painting walls, decorating windows, and installing external doors (so long as they are in the same colour and rough style as what is currently in place). Very limited like-for-like repair using the same materials and techniques does not require consent, but the extent of any repair should be discussed with the appropriate Heritage Team first. With each sort of repair, the volume of work that you can commit before applying for listed building consent changes, so staying in contact when doing repairs is a good idea.
How Much does it Cost to Apply for Listed Building Consent?
There is no fee to apply for listed building consent. However, when making an application, the documents require technical drawings and correctly written information detailing the planned changes you would like to make. You can get more information about applying for listed building consent from your local planning authority’s conservation officer.
We at Martin Perry Associates have a wealth of experience working with properties to achieve listed building consent for structural changes to a property. For example, The Old Vicarage is a Grade II listed 17th-century building that suffered from substantial water damage. We were employed to help bring the property back to its former glory. As part of that process, we prepared drawings, details, and associated documents to be rewarded listed building consent to carry out our proposed work. Once a contractor was appointed, out plan was put into motion and the property was brought back to a very high standard.
For more information about the work we do, get in touch. We provide our service as structural engineers in Cornwall, Devon, and across the South West. Leave us a comment, message us on social media, or go to our contact page and we’ll be happy to provide you with assistance.