Listed buildings are buildings of ‘special architectural or historic interest’. They are designated at a national level by the Department for Digital Culture Media and Sport and have legal protection. To distinguish them from locally designated buildings (local interest buildings) they are often referred to as ‘statutory listed’.
Listing does not mean that a listed building cannot be altered or extended, but any work that would affect its special interest, must first get ‘listed building consent’ from the Council.
It is a criminal offence to carry out such works to a listed building without the necessary consents, and the Council has powers to take enforcement action against any unauthorised works.
The National Heritage List for England (NHLE) is the only official, up to date, register of all nationally protected historic buildings and sites in England (listed buildings, scheduled monuments, protected wrecks, registered parks and gardens, and battlefields) and is available on the Historic England website.
You can also search our interactive mapping online system to see if a building is listed.
All buildings are listed in their entirety, front, back, inside and out. The designation also covers anything attached to the building, which could include internal fireplaces, stairs, floor tiles, window shutters, internal plaques, grilles or iron fittings on external walls. These are just a few examples.
It also covers extensions, even if they were built only a few years ago, and any ‘curtilage structure’ built before 1948. Typical curtilage structures are outbuildings such as coach houses or coal stores, and boundary walls or railings. Works to these structures will therefore also need listed building consent.
Often the formal list description is very brief, particularly for older entries, where the purpose was only to identify the building and not to list every part of it that is of historic or architectural importance. Only the very recent listings will comprehensively describe and evaluate the building.
There are 3 grades of listed buildings:
- Grade I - of exceptional interest
- Grade II* - of more than special interest
- Grade II - of special interest.
The grades help us to identify the most important buildings and to which we need to consult with Historic England about. The grades do not affect how much of the building is covered by the listing or what works need consent.
Listed building consent will be required for any works that might affect its special historic or architectural interest and also any of the structures within its curtilage.
This could include internal works such as altering a door, creating a new doorway, altering floors, removing or inserting a fireplace.
For external works, not just extensions, new windows or doors but also rainwater goods, chimneys, fixing solar panels, signs, CCTV, alarm boxes, redecoration in a different colour or material.
These are just a few examples and it does not mean that you cannot make any alterations, but that we have to be sure the special historic or architectural interest of the building is not harmed. Where there could be harm, we can often suggest alternative solutions or designs for your proposals.
Very minor repairs using the same materials and methods of construction should not normally need consent but more substantial repairs that could lead to unnecessary loss of historic material or a change in appearance might. This ensures we can keep the repairs to the minimum necessary and ensure the correct techniques are used. It is always best to check with us before carrying out any repair.
Details of how to apply for listed building consent can be found on the Planning Portal:
Please note: an application for listed building consent will need to be accompanied by a heritage statement and we may need quite detailed information depending on the works.
If you would like some advice before making a formal application you can get pre-application advice.
Anyone can apply for a building to be listed to Historic England by completing an application form and providing the relevant information. Buildings are assessed by Historic England against selection criteria for the relevant building type:
Listing can take some time and Historic England will prioritise buildings that are under immediate threat. There is a fast track service but fees apply.
Visit the GOV.UK website for more information about appealing listed building consent decisions: