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Listed Buildings: Explained

One of our most frequently asked queries is to do with listed building consents, exactly what you can and can't do with your listed property. Well we will try and answer some of the questions that crop up when trying to modify your property.

What makes a building listed?

Woods barn features listed elements such as the granite posts.

A listed building is a structure (not just a house or a building, but walls, monuments, landmarks etc) which has been judged to be of national importance, either from an architectural or historical significance.

For instance, a milestone marker on a road verge may be listed, not due to its architectural merit, but its historical significance.

All of these monuments, buildings and structures are 'listed' on the register of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest.

When the building itself is listed, the entirety of it is listed. The specifics state that of an element of structure sits on the same land as the listed building and has done so since at least 1st July 1948, they are also treat as listed.

What is a listed building consent?

Listed building consents are often additions to the existing planning application process, the special consent process is in place to ensure there is no unrestricted demolition, alteration or extension to a listed building without expressed permission from the local planning authority.

A listed building has to meet one of the following criteria:

Architectural Interest - due to their design, decoration and craftsmanship.

Historic Interest - due to an aspect of the nations social, economic, cultural or military history.

Historic Association - buildings that demonstrate close association with nationally important people or events.

Group Value - buildings that form part of an architectural ensemble such as squares, terraces or a model village.

When do I need listed building consent?

They apply to any works for the demolition, extension or alteration of a listed building 'which is likely to affect its character'. This means that you do not have to be doing what planners deem a 'development' to require listed building consent, any alteration will require one.

Remember: you might not need planning permission, but you may need listed building consent. They do not always go hand in hand.

These outbuildings of this project had elements of brickwork which were Grade II listed, so whilst redevelopment was possible, the original brickwork and footprint had to be retained with complimentary materials and design implemented, to ensure the character of the original building was retained.

What happens if I don't get listed building consent?

It is actually a crime to carry out work that requires listed building consent without obtaining it, so we definitely recommend being fully clued up on the nature of your property and have a solid understanding of the requirements and processes required. The best way to do this is by appointing an architect who is an expert on listed building matters.

Under no circumstance should any alterations be made a property that is listed without obtaining consent, this may seem at first to be a hard position to take, however it is crucial we protect our historical buildings, respecting and preserving their past by being sympathetic with alterations and changes.

What types are there?

Grade I listed: exceptional national interest.

Grade II* listed: particularly important and more than special interest.

Grade II listed: buildings of special interest, warranting ever effort being made to preserve them (over 94% of properties listed at Grade II listed).

Broomford Manor was extensively refurbished by TFQ Architects, as a Grade II* listed building it was a challenge to design a new internal layout which satisfied Historic England as well as the local authorities, however close coordination and sympathetic alterations ensures that the building retains its character but is a more efficient and functional home for modern living.

How do I get listed building consent?

As we mentioned, listed building consents are part of a planning control, so form part of a planning application with your local authority. We would always recommend discussing listed building consents with your authority (or having your architect advise) prior to submitting for consent, this is what is called Pre-Application advise and can help you avoid any additional costs in paying for planning submissions which will never be approved.

If you have a listed property and you want to make alterations, the best thing you can do is discuss it with your architect. At TFQ we have fantastic relationships with the local authorities in Devon, understanding how they operate and what their priorities are are vital pieces of knowledge which help in successful applications for listed building consents, as well as planning applications more generally.

We offer free initial consultations where we offer expertise and early recommendations for your project, before you pay a penny, so if you would like to discuss your project, or elements of your listed property which you'd like to alter in the future, get in touch by clicking the button below:


Whilst listed building consents can create some big headaches for homeowners and developers, they are there for a good reason, to protect history and ensure the story of a building continues to be told.

So whilst they might create some head scratching, you are not alone in dealing with listed building consents, TFQ are well equipped to assist with all elements of your project, so let us know how we can help with your listed property. It all starts with a chat.



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