What are listed buildings?

The Department of Culture, Media and Sport, along with English Heritage, has compiled a list of buildings of special architectural or historic interest. The list includes cathedrals, castles and stately homes, as you might expect. But it also includes private houses. If the building is on the list, it’s protected and certain rules and regulations must be followed if you want, or need, to do any work to it.

There are three main grades of listing:

Grade I – considered to be of exceptional interest

Grade II – important buildings or more than special interest

Grade III – considered to be of enough special interest to warrant preserving them.

How can you find out if your home is listed?

Your local authority planning department and your local reference library should carry listings in your area. You can also contact the Listed Building Information Service who can send over a copy of the listing for a particular building.

What if your listed building needs work doing?

The most important thing if you’re thinking about doing any work to a listed building is to get some advice. If a building is on the list, carrying out any alterations to the building is likely to be a bit more complicated than non-listed building. You may well need to get listed building consent before undertaking any work. You apply for this through your local planning authority or online at planningportal.gov.uk.

It’s a good idea to have a chat first with your local authority’s conservation officer who will be able to advise you on what work will require consent. Even really simple work, such as painting, might fall under this bracket. And a quick word of warning: the penalty for not getting the correct consent is up to 12 months in prison or a fine, so it really is important to act correctly.

There are no set rules about what you can and can’t do if your home is a listed building. Each case is judged individually. You might want to pay tribute to what is already there by emulating the existing style as closely as possible. But there are also some truly fantastic examples out there where historic, listed buildings have been fused with contemporary extensions which only serve to enhance the original building.

The important thing is to choose the right team to work with. A great architect and an experienced team of builders will know how to treat listed buildings and will show them the respect they deserve throughout your renovation project. They can also help advise you on whether the work may be eligible for a grant from English Heritage.

You may find that work takes longer and costs more than it would have done if your home wasn’t listed. But getting it done properly and using the right expertise will be more than worthwhile in the long run.

We’re very lucky that there are some beautiful examples of listed buildings here in Norfolk. We’ve carried out work on quite a few listed properties and love the challenges that this kind of work presents. If you’ve got a listed home that needs some work, we’d love to come and take a look!