Tuesday 28 June 2016

Living in a listed building: what do I need to know?

Listed buildings are defined as those that are of the ‘special architectural or historic interest’ and those living in properties with listed building status are effectively guardians of an important piece of the UK’s architectural past.

Listed buildings are categorised in the three following ways:

  • Grade I (making up 2.5% of listed buildings) – buildings are of exceptional interest, sometimes considered to be internationally important
  • Grade II* (making up 5.5% of listed buildings) – buildings are particularly important buildings of more than special interest
  • Grade II (making up 92% of listed buildings, and thereby the most likely grading for UK homeowners) – buildings are nationally important and of special interest

Owners of listed buildings are required to obtain listed building consent if they want to alter or extend a property in a way that may affect the property’s historical character.

Making changes to a listed building

Applications for listed building consent can be made online through the Planning Portal.

Examples of the type of changes that call for listed building consent are outlined below:

  • Making changes to windows including: replacing frame materials, re-glazing windows
  • Painting or rendering stonework
  • Adding external pipework
  • Extensions or developments within a listed building’s boundaries including garden huts and fences

Placing an application for listed building consent carries no fee and while local authorities aim to process these applications within eight weeks, larger projects may take up to 12 weeks.

If your application for listed building consent is refused you have the right to make an appeal within six months of making the decision. If you are considering making an appeal visit the planning portal’s appeals section for further details. Alternatively you can amend your plans, based on the advice provided, before reapplying for listed building consent.

Emergency work on listed buildings

Emergency work on listed building can be carried out without listed building consent provided you can prove the criteria below after work has been completed:

  • that the works were urgently necessary in the interest of safety or health or for the preservation of the building
  • that it was not practical to secure public safety or health or preserve the building by works of repair or temporary support or shelter
  • that the work carried out was limited to the minimum measures immediately necessary
  • that detailed notice in writing justifying the carrying out the work was given to the Council as soon as reasonably practical to do so.

If you unsure on these points contact your local authority’s Conservation team to obtain further guidance.

Grants for work to listed buildings

There are a number of grants available to homeowners carrying out refurbishment work to listed buildings. The Funds for Historic Buildings site brings together a range of funding sources for those who are repairing, restoring or converting heritage buildings and includes a search facility so that homeowners can find the right fund for their needs.

The Sash Window Workshop can help with many aspects of the upgrading of your listed home, including manufacturing secondary glazing or sliding sash windows that adhere to listed building requirements. For more information, or to obtain a quotation, contact us on: 01344 868668.