How they are selected

Listed buildings can be chosen on the basis of special architectural interest.

This means:

  • importance displayed in terms of design, decoration or craftsmanship including intact examples of certain building types (related to both function and form)
  • those demonstrating innovation in style or construction
  • those displaying important aspects of historic vernacular tradition

While sometimes certain components of building may be of greater architectural interest than others the over all architectural character and interest of a building derives from the collection of its parts

A listed building can also be selected on special historic interest.

This means association shown with important aspects of the nation's:

  • social history
  • economic history
  • cultural history
  • military history
  • and/or having an association with nationally important people

Historic interest extends to the fabric of the building and its integrity as an architectural artefact

What the grades mean

Listed buildings are classified into 3 grades:

  • Grade I buildings of exceptional interest, usually judged to be of national importance
  • Grade II* are particularly important buildings of exceptional interest and of outstanding importance
  • Grade II are other buildings of special interest, which warrant every effort to conserve them

What listing includes

Listing protects the whole of a building's fabric (inside and outside, front and back, including any extensions made to it), fixtures (objects or items physically attached to a building including doors, fireplaces, skirtings) and any pre 1948 building or structure within the curtilage (including statues, outbuildings, boundary walls).

List descriptions

Each listed building has a list description. This is principally to aid identification. While list descriptions will include mention of those features which led a building to be listed, they are not intended to provide a comprehensive or exclusive record of all the features of importance, and the amount of information given in descriptions varies considerably. 

An interactive resource is also available at Heritage Gateway

Pre-Application Advice

Applications for works to a listed building can be rejected when proposals cause unjustified or substantial harm to the fabric, character or special interest of the building. Often expert knowledge is required to fully understand the value of a heritage asset.

To improve the chances of your application being successful you can seek formal Pre-Application advice.  Listed building/heritage with Conservation Officer only, or you can request an additional officer at a meeting (including specialists) to accompany a planning officer if you require planning permission as well as listed building consent.

Listed Buildings Consent

Consent is required for demolition of a listed building and any alterations which would affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest. The following is a non-exhaustive list of works that usually require listed building consent unless otherwise agreed by your council:

  • extension
  • replacement or alterations of architectural components (e.g. windows and doors)
  • abrasive cleaning of a building
  • removal or application of internal plaster, external render, claddings or linings 
  • extensive re-pointing
  • damp proofing
  • attachment of signage, external lighting, satellite dishes, alarm boxes
  • re-roofing including stripping of a multi-layered thatch roof or change in roofing material
  • insertion of flues and vents
  • alteration of fireplaces and chimney stacks
  • external painting where a different colour or product is used to that existing, or where surfaces are currently untreated.
  • removal or modification of structural timbers.
  • removal or alteration of internal features such as doors, cupboards, panelling, floorboards and staircases.
  • changes to the plan-form of internal rooms (e.g. blocking-up door openings, removal or insertion of partitions or staircases)
  • works to to pre-1948 curtilage structures
  • installation of solar panels or wind turbines

Approved alterations may be eligible for VAT relief. Contact HM Revenue and Customs for further details.

You must justify alterations to or demolition of a listed building. This should consider the impact of the proposed works on the character as a building of special architectural or historic interest. 

Submit a planning application

Other consents you may need

Planning permission or advertisement consent may be required as well as householder planning and listed building consent, and full planning and listed building consent. Where other permissions are needed, these applications should be made at the same time.

If the listed building is also a scheduled ancient monument, only a Scheduled Monument Consent will be needed.

You will need planning permission for works within the curtilage (grounds) of a listed building if the works involve:

  • construction
  • improvement
  • alteration

This applies to:

  • buildings
  • enclosures
  • pools
  • fuel containers

If you want to make alterations to a listed building, contact your council for advice. Pre-application advice may be charged.

Repairs to listed buildings

Sensitive repair work does not normally require listed building consent, however it is necessary to contact us before doing any work so that we can ensure the works qualify as 'repair'.

As a rule of thumb 'repair' involves small scale maintenance works (e.g. replacement of a rotted window sill could be considered repair but replacement of the whole or large part of a window would be considered alteration and need consent).

A method statement and specification of materials used to carry out a repair job may be requested in advance in order to make sure that works are carried out appropriately.

Appointing a contractor or agent

Working with listed buildings requires:

  • a sensitive and informed approach
  • application of particular skills

When appointing a contractor or agent (including surveyors, structural engineers and technicians) it is  important to make sure that they:

  • are appropriately qualified
  • have demonstrable specialist experience of working with listed buildings

A contractor must complete only the works that the listed building consent has been granted for. Unauthorised alterations or failure to comply with conditions on a grant of listed building consent is an offence.

Building regulations

Building regulations may be applied more sensitively in relation to listed buildings. The impact of applying regulations should be addressed within any application made for listed building consent. It is important to bear in mind that building regulations approval is not the same as listed building consent. Building regulations work which constitutes alteration or addition to of the fabric of a building is likely to require listed building consent.


It is a criminal offence to carry out unauthorised demolition, alteration or extension to a listed building where this would affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest. The offence is one of strict liability and those responsible may be prosecuted.

We may also issue an enforcement notice requiring works of rectification. Where a building has been neglected to the point at which its special interest is deemed to be at risk we may issue an urgent works notice and/or a repairs notice requiring remedial and/or protective measures.

When you purchase a property it is important to make sure that all alterations have been authorised. The liability for rectification to unauthorised alterations is passed on to the new owner.

If you are concerned that unauthorised work is being carried out at a listed building contact our Enforcement Officer.

Getting a building listed

Find out how to get a building listed.

The application should be supported by as much information as possible, including:

  • the address of the building
  • any information about the building (e.g. its date)
  • details of specialised function (e.g. industrial building)
  • historical associations
  • the name of the architect (if known)
  • its group value in the street scene
  • details of any interior features of interest
  • clear, original external and internal photographs
  • name and contact details of the owner
  • a location map (such as an Ordnance Survey map extract) showing, wherever possible, the position of any other listed buildings nearby

Contact planning

See our contact details. It includes our response times and the areas we cover.