Living in and owning a listed building can come be an amazing experience. Your heritage home may have had some historic relevance to the country, be designed by a renowned architecture or even provided a home to historic figure or even royalty. This can add great value to a property and add a lovely level of character to a home. The listed status can also place some barriers in your way when it comes to updating of your property or in some cases completing some much needed maintenance.
Here we are looking further into listed buildings, the different types of listed building and what to do when you are planning work on your listed building.
What is a listed building?
A listed building here in the UK is the term for any building which has been placed on the Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. Placement on this list is governed by “Historic England” and puts in place certain rules for the safe keeping of these earmarked homes or buildings.
Listed buildings are not just homes and actual livable buildings. There are structures around the UK that have made it on to the list, to ensure that structures of either architectural or historic relevance are preserved for years to come. There are bridges, sculptures and war memorials on the Statutory List. The perfect example of this is the Abbey Road pedestrian crossing in London. This has been “listed” as an item of significant historic relevance for the country and is therefore protected by its “listed” status.
In all, listed buildings only actually make up around 2% of all buildings in the UK. This is made up of less than 500,000 buildings in the entire country. So if you are lucky to own or live in a listed building, you are among a very select few.
The different types of listed building
For England and Wales we have three different types of listed status for our buildings. These are categorized by grades as follows:
Grade II – These are buildings that have been marked as special interest. Their placement as listed ensures every effort is made to preserve them. Well known Grade II listed buildings include the BT Tower in London and The Kursall in Southend-on-sea, Essex.
Grade II* – These are seen as particularly important buildings, ranked slightly higher than a standard Grade II building. Famous examples of Grade II* buildings include Battersea Power Station in London and Manchester Town Hall.
Grade I – These are classed as buildings of exceptional interest and are therefore highly protected. Examples of Grade I listed buildings include Blackpool Tower, London’s Tower Bridge and Warwick Castle.
Altering a listed building
So you have your beautiful listed building, but time has come to make some updates to. Generally, listed buildings are meant to be available for “appropriate and viable use”. This can mean the modification of the building, be it a new set of energy efficient windows an improved kitchen or even just a secure front door. No matter what the level of modification you are looking to make is, your listed building cannot be modified until you have been granted Listed Building Consent from your relevant local planning authority.
In many cases, the consent will be granted as long as you are not affecting the overall style of a listed building. This is generally the case with period properties, where adding brand new modern windows and doors would obviously change the style of the property and take away from its original architecture. This is where heritage windows and doors are becoming so popular, with modern materials being used to achieve the best security and energy efficiency, whilst still having a classic style with the heritage timber style appearance and styling.
Any work completed without this consent is treated as a criminal office, so it important to ensure you check if planning permission is needed before you make any updates. The government have an online system to help you check if you require permission which can be found here. If you do make any modifications to your listed building without permission, the planning authorities can ask you to reverse any modifications you have made at your own cost. This could be a fairly costly exercise, so it is always best to do your research and achieve the correct permissions before any work is started.
You do not need to contact Historic England directly to obtain permission for your modifications, you just need to contact your local council office and they will advise you of how to move forwards with your modifications.
There is a handy government backed web portal that you can use to find the correct council contacts, plan and track your permissions called “Planning Portal”. This can be a great help to ensure you are covered and has a mass of information to help you understand what is needed for your modification projects.
If you are looking for heritage windows and doors, that will match the existing classic style of your property but with the security, low maintenance and A+ energy efficiency of modern windows, then please contact us today for more information.