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04 Feb, 16 / post / News
Listed Buildings?

At Cityzen we work on a lot of Listed  buildings and are often asked, “what  can I do to my Listed Building”.  Usually though it is ” my building is Listed, I want to change the windows/ take out a wall/ change the skirtings, that doesn’t need consent does it?”

Let’s start with What is a Listed Building:

“A ‘listed building’ is a building, object or structure that has been judged to be of national importance in terms of architectural or historic interest and included on a special register, called the List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. ” (planning portal guidance notes)

“Listing helps to acknowledge and understand our shared history. It marks and celebrates a building’s special architectural and historic interest, and also brings it under the consideration of the planning system so that some thought will be taken about its future. ” (Historic England 2015)

Buildings are graded in terms of historical significance- Grade II, Grade II* and Grade I being the most protected. Listing usually applies to the whole building and the surrounding area up to and including the boundary walls of the site. This also includes “modern” buildings that might have been added to the site. You may think these are not part of the listing- but they are- we’ve had a project where a 1960s asbestos garage was fought over!

What can I do to my Listed Building?

What can you do to a listed building depends a lot of factors, such as its historic significance, its function, its condition or if it’s important in terms of its materials.

(Your Local Authority Conservation Officer is in charge of making the decisions based on their experience and knowledge of the building, if the building is significant they also may bring in experts from Historic England.)

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What work requires Listed Building Consent?

Any works which impact on the fabric, appearance or layout of the building or change anything within the site, which is pretty much everything!

This includes:

  • Any extensions and demolitions.
  • Where repairs are to be carried out in materials that are not exactly the same as the existing material (e.g. changing from a hand-made clay tile to a machine-made tile, or a lime plaster to a gypsum plaster).
  • Changing of any features like chimney stacks or walls.
  • Sand, bead or vapour-blasting of any material i.e stonework, brickwork and timbers (internal and external).
  • Exposing timbers and brickwork previously hidden/ plastered over/ boarded in.
  • Stripping out of plasterwork (where it is not being replaced as original) especially lath and plaster!
  • Removal or alteration of internal features such as doors, cupboards, panelling, fireplaces, coving, skirting or dado rails.
  • Changes to the plan form of internal rooms (e.g. blocking-up door openings, removing partitions or staircases).
  • Timber treatment where this involves destructive techniques or replacement.
  • New plumbing or electrics (where this has an impact on the listed building e.g. chasing in wires and pipes).
  • Replacement windows including double glazing.
  • Insertion of suspended ceilings.
  • Fitting of new ovens and stoves, which require new flues.

This list is by no means comprehensive and is included for guidance purposes only.

Buyer beware, you are the custodian of a historic asset and  it is a criminal offence to alter a building without Listed Building Consent. Doing so can result in a fine, being enforced to put the building back to the original state, or even a prison sentence for both the owner and the builder!

At Cityzen we look to help Listed building owners to realise their dream home but also to understand that they own a heritage asset, which will be there long after we are.

Gaining Listed Building Consent can often be a difficult, expensive and lengthy process,  more design detail and drawings are required at an early stage, and significant justification is required potentially involving archaeological reports to be procured to support your Listed Building Consent application.

On the flip side owning a Listed Building can be very rewarding and provide you with a unique piece of history on which you have made your mark that will outlast us all.

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