Last edited 24 Jan 2022

Spot listing of historic buildings

Listed buildings in York.jpg

England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are very rich in historic structures, whether great cathedrals, industrial buildings, houses or other building types. Together, they form a key aspect of the historic environment.

Buildings of special architectural or historic interest are given protection from unauthorised alteration, extension or demolition by being included on a statutory list compiled by the Secretary of State for National Heritage. The list is compiled under the terms of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.

For more information see: Listed buildings.

Spot listing was an older mechanism -– now no longer in operation -– which followed recommendations from local authorities, individuals and local bodies highlighting the need for a particular building to be added to the list. It was characterised by the speed of the resulting action – it was faster than the normal review process, hence ‘on the spot’.

Lists of designated buildings can be found online at most local authority websites; for those without internet access, list descriptions should be available for public inspection at the district council or county planning offices.

Recommending that a building should be added to the list is open to everyone as long as they specify what the nature of the threat to the building is. However, the process now follows the traditional route and usually takes six months from the time a request is made.

Requests for a building to be added to (or removed from) the statutory list under the terms of section 6 of the 1990 Act should be directed to Historic England (details of how to do so can be found HERE. Historic England assesses such requests before submitting its recommendation to the Secretary of State.

The sort of information that should be included in a request for listing includes:

In England, once the application has been made, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport will request a Historic England inspector assesses the building, makes a report and recommends whether the building should or should not be added. It is then up to the Secretary of State to accept the inspector’s decision. If turned down, there is an appeal process although this is rarely successful.

NB The term 'spot listing' may now be referred to as 'reactive listing'.

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