Solicitor Kayleigh Chapman, in our leading Planning & Environmental law team, explains the law in relation to internal or external alterations to a listed building.
Listed Buildings – Do I need consent?
The majority of people would not deny that our historic environment and buildings should be conserved for future generations. People who own a listed building will inevitably take pride in the character that that property has and will seek to protect its charm. A key question those who have bought or are looking to purchase a listed building should ask is whether and how you can make alterations to the property if the need arises – whether due to historic preservation or to maximise usability for your personal preference.
Types of Listed Buildings
There are three categories of listed buildings:
- Grade I – buildings of exceptional interest – only 2.5% of listed buildings are Grade I
- Grade II* - buildings which are of particularly important buildings of more than special interest – 5.8% of listed buildings are Grade II*
- Grade II – buildings of special interest – the majority of listed buildings (91.7%) are Grade II listed
What is covered in the listing?
If you are purchasing or have purchased a listed building your first port of call should be Historic England’s heritage list. The list will have some information about the property and the features that are considered particularly special. However, you should be aware that the listing applies to all of the building and its curtilage.
Listed Buildings and Permitted Development Rights
We have previously prepared a blog in respect of Permitted Development Rights which can be read here. We would advise you to seek specialist advice should you wish to carry out works in accordance with permitted development rights. Whilst in some cases planning permission will not be required, there is a very strong possibility that listed building consent will be required.
For example, Class A of Part 1 of Schedule 2 of the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development Rights) (England) Order 1992 permits the erection of certain sized extensions subject to certain limitations and conditions relating to size and materials used. This Class A does not expressly prohibit the erection of an extension to a listed building. However, if the extension would affect the listed buildings character as a building of special architectural or historic interest then listed building consent is still required.
Section 55 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 expressly removes from the scope of development the carrying out of alterations that only affect the interior of a building. In such circumstances planning permission is not required. However, if the works would again affect the listed buildings character a as building of special architectural or historic interest then listed building consent is required.
The key consideration is whether the works (including demolition) you intend to carry out would affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest (Section 7 Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990). If you are in any doubt then you should at the very least approach the Council or seek specialist advice from a Heritage Consultant or Solicitor to discuss the works you wish to undertake.