The Planning (Listed Building and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 creates special controls for the demolition, alteration or extension of buildings, objects or structures of particular architectural or historic interest. Listed building (LB) controls apply in addition to normal planning controls.
Listed buildings are added to a register called the List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. Historic England administers the listing system, but listing decisions are made by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.
Buildings may be listed for a number of reasons:
- Architectural interest (such as design, decoration or craftsmanship).
- Historic interest (for example, if the building is representative of a particular type).
- Historic association (association with nationally important people or events).
- Group value (part of a larger ensemble).
There are three categories of listing in England and Wales:
- Grade I: Buildings of exceptional importance.
- Grade II*: Buildings of more than special interest.
- Grade II: Buildings of special interest.
There are approximately 375,000 listed buildings in England, of which more than 90% are grade II listed.
Listing can protect the interior and exterior of the building, as well as object or structures fixed to it, and any object or structure within the curtilage of the building which has formed part of the land since before 1 July 1948. Following the introduction of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act (ERR) 2013, it is possible when making a new listing to declare that specific features of the building, or specific buildings or structures attached to, or within the curtilage of the listed building are not of special interest.
Demolition, alteration or extension of a listed building in a way that is likely to affect its special architectural or historical interest is only allowed with the consent of the local planning authority or the Secretary of State.
There are no general rules about what can and cannot be done, as each building is unique and will have been listed for reasons particular to that building. A local authority conservation officer can establish whether proposals are likely to affect a building’s architectural or historical interest and therefore whether listed building consent is required. Listed building consent must then be obtained from the local planning authority. Decisions will generally take 8 to 13 weeks, and appeals can be submitted to the Secretary of State within 6 months. It is not possible to make outline applications for listed building consent.
Listing is not intended as a preservation order, it simply identifies buildings of interest. Decisions relating to listed building consents should balance historic interest against practical issues such as its function, condition or viability.
An application for a Certificate of Immunity can be made for developments affecting buildings that may be eligible for listing. This can give developers reassurance that the development will not be prevented by a building becoming listed.
Conversely, Building Preservation Notices (BPN) can be used to prevent un-listed buildings from being demolished or altered whilst an application to list them is considered. See Building Preservation Notice for more information.
Planning permission is separate to listed building consent. It is not always required alongside listed building consent. For some works, both planning permission and listed building consent will be required. It is advisable to contact the local authority Conservation Officer as a first stage to determine whether consent is required.
- Scheduled ancient monuments.
- Registered historic parks and gardens.
- Conservation areas.
- Registered historic battlefields.
- Designated wrecks.
- World heritage sites.
The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act (ERR) 2013 introduced changes to the Planning (Listed Building and Conservation Areas) Act 1990. Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said, ‘Listed buildings are a rich part of this country’s heritage and it is only right that we try to help those in charge of looking after them. These new measures will uphold levels of existing heritage protection, whilst also simplifying the process so that those within the heritage sector and owners are not bogged down in bureaucracy.’
The changes include:
- The introduction of Listed Building Heritage Partnership Agreements (LBHPA).
- The introduction of Local Listed Building Consent Orders (LLBCO).
- The introduction of Listed Building Consent Orders (LBCO).
- The introduction of Certificates of Lawfulness (CoL)
- Changes to new listings to permit identification of features that are not of special interest.
- Changes enabling Certificates of Immunity (COI) to be sought at any time.
- The demolition of unlisted buildings in conservation areas now requires planning permission rather than conservation area consent.
- Alterations to listed buildings guidance note.
- Are works to listed buildings demolition or alteration?
- Building Preservation Notice.
- Cautions or formal warnings in relation to potential listed building offences in England and Wales.
- Certificate of immunity.
- Certificate of Lawfulness of Proposed Works.
- Charging for Listed Building Consent pre-application advice.
- Compulsory purchase orders for listed buildings.
- Conservation area.
- Conservation officer.
- Energy efficiency of traditional buildings.
- 'England's Post-War Listed Buildings'.
- Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 and listed buildings.
- Fitness for purpose in listing considerations.
- Forced entry to listed buildings.
- Heritage at Risk Register.
- Guidance on Alterations to Listed Buildings.
- Heritage partnership agreement.
- Historic England.
- IHBC responds to supporting defence infrastructure and the future of time-limited permitted development rights.
- International heritage policy.
- Listed Building Heritage Partnership Agreements.
- Listed buildings insurance.
- Local Listed Building Consent Orders.
- Local interest list.
- Listed Building Consent Order.
- Local Plan Route Mapper and toolkit.
- Minimalist listing.
- Negotiating listed building consent.
- Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act.
- Planning authority duty to provide specialist conservation advice.
- Protection of historic statues, plaques, memorials and monuments.
- Reactive listing.
- Scheduled monuments.
- The history of listed buildings.
- Thematic listing.
- Town and Country Planning Act 1968.
- Use of direct action in heritage enforcement cases in England.
 External references
Ireland’s Minister for Rural and Community Development, Heather Humphreys, announced a new funding stream to support Local Authorities (LAs) to purchase vacant buildings that could be converted and developed for community use.
Eleven pubs across England have been recognised for their historic or unusual interiors, as they have been listed, upgraded or relisted.
The Heritage Sector Resilience Plan, developed by the Historic Environment Forum (HEF) with the support of Historic England, has been launched.
An ‘All-Island’ commitment to Ireland’s vernacular heritage has been established with the signing of the North South Agreement on Vernacular Heritage, supporting traditional buildings etc.
Canons House, a landmark building on Bristol Harbourside, has been awarded Grade II (GII) listed status having been built as a regional headquarters for Lloyds Bank between 1988 and 1991 (Arup)
The Building Research Establishment (BRE) has announced a new project with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to improve and modernise the home energy rating scheme used to measure the energy and environmental performance of UK homes.
Sector lead the Construction Skills Certification Scheme (CSCS) has recognised the IHBC’s professional accreditation and support (CPD etc.) in awarding its PQP (Professionally Qualified Person) cards.
Work to repair a fire-hit medieval hotel in Gloucester is underway as crews have started work to strip back some of the modern trappings and reveal the historic framework.
The Secretariat to the European Heritage Heads Forum has has coordinated its declaration of solidarity and support for Ukraine’s cultural heritage institutions.
2022 will see the IHBC mark a quarter of a century since our incorporation as a professional body supporting and accrediting built and historic environment conservation specialists. We’re kick-starting it by inviting your ideas on how to mark this special year!