A frequent question asked by an owner or buyer of a Listed Building is  “I would like to do XYZ.  Will I need Listed Building Consent?

There is no published list of what you or can’t do to your Listed Building without asking first.   It would be helpful if such a list existed, but it is probably impossible to create a list that would work with every scenario.    It is important that each case is considered individually.  A proposed alteration or extension to the Listed Building, or a Curtilage Listed Building, may require prior Listed Building Consent if the local Planning Authority decides that it would affect the special character of the building, the reason why it was Listed.   A proposed development within the grounds, which could be a simple as a shed or a greenhouse, will require Planning Permission.

There are a few simple, but occasionally frustrating, rules that needed to be understood and followed..:

  • There are no Permitted Development Rights within the curtilage of a Listed Building.  Unlike a non-Listed property, you will need to seek permission for any alteration or extension – inside or outside the building – as well as any development or structure within the grounds.
  • Small repairs of a routine maintenance nature and done on a like-for-like basis using traditional materials and techniques can be done and usually do not require permission in advance.
  • Proposals to alter the building in any way, if it affects its historic interest and architectural character, will require an application for Listed Building Consent.   This could include, for example, an extension, removal or insertion of walls or changing the windows to double-glazing.
  • Proposals to put any structure in the grounds will require an application for Planning Permission.   This could include, for example, a shed, greenhouse, hot tub, garage or swimming pool.

When making an application it is always important to use skilled conservation professionals.   There are lists of Conservation Accredited professional advisors that you can use and will help you avoid wasting time and money on a proposal that is poorly considered and presented.

Conservation Accredited Surveyors

Conservation Accredited Architects

Conservation Accredited Structural Engineers

If you are unsure whether or not you need to apply for Listed Building Consent, you could firstly apply for a Certificate of Lawfulness of Proposed Works to a Listed Building.   This will give you an answer of whether or not you will need to apply for Listed Building Consent.  Local authorities also offer a Pre-Application advice service where you can discuss your ideas, informally, before you progress too far and before you submit your application.  There will usually be a nominal fee for Pre-App advice.

The decision of whether or not an application for Listed Building Consent, or Planning Permission, is required or not is ultimately for the local authority to make.   It is not for the homeowner to make that decision.   If you are in any doubt at all, you should always seek advice and ask questions first before you do anything.

Always remember too, the local authority has legal powers for Enforcement Action and, in some cases, can prosecute for a Criminal Offence when harm has been caused to a Listed Building, or the setting of a Listed Building.

My earlier Blog message on this subject also contains lots of helpful advice on this subject..:

Making Alterations to a Listed Building

In June 2021, Historic England published a helpful guidance document about Listed Building Consents and you can download the document from the following link..:

Historic England: Listed Building Consent, Advice Note 16


Disclaimer:   Anything posted in this Blog is for general information only and it is not in any way intended to provide any advice, legal or otherwise, on any general or specific matter that you can rely on.  You should always seek your own legal advice.