Last edited 12 Jun 2016

Certificate of immunity COI

Certificates of immunity (COI) guarantee that a building or buildings will not be listed and that a building preservation notice will not be served for the next five years. This gives reassurance to owners or developers that are proposing works to buildings that could be eligible for listing, that their proposals will not be hindered.

Following the introduction of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, certificates of immunity can be sought at any time (previously this was only permitted when the building was the subject of a planning application).

Applications are made to Historic England and copied by the applicant to the local planning authority. Historic England then make a recommendation to the Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport who will decide whether to grant the certificate.

There is some risk in applying for a certificate of immunity, as, if a certificate is not granted, the building will normally then be listed. This means that an application should only be made if there is a genuine possibility of a development being seriously hampered by future listing.

As certificates of immunity prevent listing for 5 years, applications are considered in great detail, and this may reveal reasons to list the building, even if a recent application to have the building listed was rejected.

Applications can be withdrawn at any time during the application process by writing to Historic England.

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