Some properties are categorised as Listed Buildings. Often they are buildings of historic importance with beautiful original features, and can therefore be very attractive to those looking to buy a new home.

However, there are strict regulations about what you can do to a listed building and the consequences of failing to comply can be very costly! We look at some of the most commonly asked questions.

What is a listed building?

A listed building is one that has special architectural or historic interest, and therefore alterations to these buildings are heavily governed.

Listed buildings are categorised into three different grades:
• Grade I - for buildings of exceptional interest
• Grade II - for important buildings of more than special interest, and ;
• Grade III - buildings of special interest.

Grade II listed buildings make up around 92% of all listed buildings. Each listed building is added to the National Heritage List for England so that a register of these properties can be kept. 

Can I make alterations to a listed building?

Possibly – but not without planning permission and consent first!

If you want to alter, extend or demolish your listed building an application needs to be made to the relevant planning authority for planning permission and consent to the works. The application needs to clearly set out the proposed works and the Local Authority will then liaise with Historic England in making their decision.

Internal alterations may not require planning permission but consent should still be sought in the same way.

Consent may also be required for alterations to structures which are attached to listed buildings – not just the building itself. It may also extend, in some circumstances, to buildings within the grounds of listed buildings.

What if I carry out the works without consent?

Planning legislation states that it is a criminal office not to seek consent for alterations to, or the demolition of, a listed building. It is not a defence to simply claim that you did not know it was listed.

The maximum penalty is two years imprisonment or an unlimited fine.

The Local Authority can issue a stop notice under to prevent the work from being completed. They can also issue an enforcement notice requiring the property to be restored to how it was before the works took place. 

What do I need to do if I think my building is listed?

Check the National Heritage List for England and contact the Local Authority’s planning department before starting any works. Remember– ignorance is not a defence! Don’t get caught out.

Our residential property team at Myerson have experience of dealing with a wide range of property matters, including the purchase of listed buildings. Please get in touch with the team on lawyers@myerson.co.uk or by calling 0161 941 4000 to speak to a member of our team for a personalised quote. 

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