Listed Building consent - A guide

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This advice is for owners of Listed Buildings and for people who are considering buying a Listed Building. Its purpose is to outline briefly the responsibilities of owning a Listed Building and provide guidance on when Listed Building consent from the Councils is required and the procedures as to how to apply for consent.

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Definition of a Listed Building

A Listed Building is any building which :

  • is included in a list of buildings of special architectural or historic interest made by the Secretary of State under Section 1 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990;
  • immediately before 1st January 1969 was under a Building Preservation Order under Part 111 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1962; or
  • is under a current Building Preservation Notice served under Section 3 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.

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How do I know if my property is a Listed Building?

If you are in any doubt whether your property is a Listed Building, you can contact the Planning section who will check the copies of list entries for the relevant borough or district. Each entry has a description of the building so that it can be clearly identified. On changes of ownership, responsibility is transferred to the new owner. The fact that the building is listed will be revealed when a Land Search is made.

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When is Listed Building consent required?

Apart from carrying out prudent maintenance and general repairs, no special action is called for, unless an owner wants to make alterations to a Listed Building.

The listing covers the whole building and Listed Building consent is required from the Councils to demolish, extend or alter the building (either interior or exterior) where the proposed works would affect the character of the Listed Building.

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Examples of work requiring consent

  • Changing roof materials
  • Alterations to interior walls
  • Painting or other types of cladding over stone or brickwork
  • Adding structures or fixing objects to a Listed Building
  • Repairs not carried in matching materials
  • Fitting of new boilers, ovens, stoves etc. which require new flues

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Demolishing or partly demolishing a Listed Building

You will normally need Listed Building consent to demolish part of a Listed Building. However, this will depend on the amount of the demolition planned, and you should discuss your proposal with a Planning Officer, even if the demolition is minor. Some minor demolition may still need Listed Building consent as it may be considered to be an alteration to a Listed Building.

You can only demolish a Listed Building if:

  • you have Listed Building consent; and
  • you have told the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments about the proposed work and have given them reasonable access to the building for at least a month after getting Listed Building consent. In some cases, the Commission may write to say that it does not need access.

See also: Demolition

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Altering or extending a Listed Building

You need Listed Building consent to alter, do work to or extend a Listed Building if the work would affect the building's character as a building of special architectural or historic interest. This applies to work inside and outside the building.

Anything which is fixed to the building or forms part of the site and has done since 1st July 1948 is treated as part of the Listed Building (for example, walls and outbuildings). This means that you must apply for consent to alter or carry out work on any part of the building or site.

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Putting up an advertisement on a Listed Building

You must have Listed Building consent to put a sign on a Listed Building. This may not apply if you are replacing a sign we have already agreed to with one which meets the standards we set for the first sign.

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Examples of works that would not normally require consent

  • Internal works, such as redecorating
  • installing bathrooms and kitchen fittings
  • central heating installations

However, if these works interfere with important internal features such as panelling or mouldings, consent may be required. This list is by no means comprehensive and is included for guidance purposes only. If you are in any doubt whether you need Listed Building consent, please contact the Planning Section before you start work.

In addition, all free-standing buildings, for example, barns, walls and statues erected before 1st July 1948 within the curtilage of a Listed Building, are also protected and therefore, any works or alterations to them will require Listed Building consent.

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What if I undertake works without gaining Listed Building consent?

If unauthorised works to a Listed Building are unsympathetic, the Councils can take enforcement action. This may require a building to be restored to its former state or specify action, which would alleviate the effects of the works executed without consent. The Courts do not regard ignorance of listing as a defence where work is undertaken without the necessary consent.

It is a criminal offence to demolish, extend or alter a Listed Building in a way that affects its character, without first obtaining Listed Building consent.

The penalties on conviction are considerable and can result in fines up to £20,000, imprisonment or both.

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Caretakers of our heritage

Listed Buildings form a very important part of our national heritage and owners of such buildings should see themselves as caretakers of that heritage.

Adur & Worthing Councils provide free advice to owners of Listed Buildings and site visits by the Councils' Conservation Officer, can usually be arranged to discuss particular problems, prior to work being carried out.

You should also be aware that if an owner fails to keep a Listed Building in a reasonable state of repair, the Councils may, as a last resort, serve a Repairs Notice. If the work is not carried out within a specified time limit, the Councils may, in extreme cases, compulsory purchase the building.

In addition, the Councils are also empowered to execute urgent basic repairs to protect the structural integrity of a vacant Listed Building or to make it weatherproof. The cost of repairs is then charged to the owner.

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How to apply for Listed Building consent

For details on how to submit a planning application and for required forms, please see submit application, fees and forms.

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Listed Building consent application form

You can make an online application via the Planning Portal or download the 'Application for Listed Building consent for alterations, extension or demolition of a Listed Building' application form to print and return by post/in person.

You may find it helpful to discuss your plans before you fill in the Listed Building consent application form - if so, please contact our Planning section.

You can make the application yourself or you can employ someone (an agent) to do it for you. If an agent makes the application, we will send all letters, including the decision notice, to them.

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Page last updated: 05 December 2023

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