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Conservation Areas and Listed Buildings

Article 342 [ added on 02-12-2009, updated on 03-06-2010 ]

A Listed Building is a stand alone structure of historical importance and value, and a Conservation Area is a wider group of buildings and the surrounding area that is considered to be of  historical importance and value.

Some work to historical buildings may be Vat exempt.

Planning Issues

It is an option to apply for Planning Permission and Building Consent at the same time when dealing with Conservation Areas or Listed Buildings.

Any Building Work can be carried out by a competent contractor providing the end results meet the conservation needs.

Renovating in a Conservation Area or to a Listed Building requires careful consideration. The rules are more open to interpretation and subjective judgment. It is always prudent to contact your Local Planning Authority well in advance of any building work.

The rules will differ around the United Kingdom but regardless of the level of listing you will need to get the permission of the Controlling Agency before making the changes.

Building Regulations Issues

Some of the renovation work could be considered exempt from Building Regulations Control. Your Local Regulations Authority will advise. 

New building work will require a formal Building Regulations input. The new work should so far as is practical comply with current Building Regulations Standards. Issues such as double glazing should be considered in sympathy with the character of the building. It should be recognised that an exact adherence to current rules may pose difficulties with a Historical Building.
It is an option to apply for Planning Permission and Building Consent at the same time when dealing with Conservation Areas & Listed Buildings.

Conservation Area

If you live in a Conservation Area, Conservation Area Consent is required for any of the following:

•    To demolish a building with a volume of more than 115 cubic metres
•    To demolish a gate, fence, wall or railing over 1 metre high if they are next to a highway (including a public footpath or bridleway) or public open space, or over 2 metres high elsewhere

 Listed Building Consent must be obtained if you live in a Listed Building and wish to make some alterations. It is a criminal offence to carry out work which requires Listed Building Consent before it has been obtained.

 Listed Building Consent must be applied for in the following situations:

•    Any extension or additions including porches and conservatories.
•    The alteration or replacement of any door or window, internally or externally.
•    Replacement of a roof covering.
•    Removal of any internal wall or partition whatever the date of construction.
•    The removal, replacement or repositioning of a staircase.
•    Insertion of a skylight or velux window.
•    Painting or rendering of stonework.
•    Changes to external cladding materials such as weather boarding, slate hanging or rendering.
•    Removal or change to a chimney or fireplace (even if not in use).

The issues surrounding a planning permission for a Listed Building really depend on the changes that you are planning to make, rather than the fact that it is a Listed Building. In this respect it’s no different to an ordinary house.

Don’t ever be tempted to overlook the Listed Building status and do the work without Listed Building Consent. You may be required to demolish the new extension and repair any damage done to the property. There could also be a fine and even a one year prison sentence.

Listed Buildings

A 'Listed Building' is a building, object or structure that has been judged to be of National special historical or architectural interest. There are just fewer than 500,000 Listed Buildings in England.

Listed Buildings are classified into grades indicating their relative importance. Grade I are buildings of exceptional interest – less than 5% of all Listed Buildings are in this grade. The majority of Listed Buildings are grade II, but some particularly important buildings in this grade are classified as II*.

How are buildings chosen for listing?

The following types of buildings and structures are listed.

•    Buildings built before 1700 which survived in anything like their original condition
•    Most buildings erected between1700 and 1840 (selection is necessary)
•    Between 1840 and 1914, selected buildings of definite quality and character, the selection is designed to include the principle works of principle architects.
•    Between 1914 and 1939, selected buildings of high quality and/or historic interest, and a few outstanding buildings erected after 1939.

Choosing a Listed Building

The building has to:

•    Have an association with well-known characters or events.
•    Have technological innovation or virtuosity e.g. prefabricated cast iron or the early use of concrete.
•    Have special value within certain types either for:
o    Architectural or planning reasons
o    Illustrating social, economic or historic interest such as industrial buildings, railway stations, schools, hospitals, theatres, town halls, markets etc.
•    Group value, as examples of town planning, such as squares or terraces.

What if my property if listed?
A Listed Building does not necessarily have to be preserved exactly as it is for all time. The main purpose of listing is to ensure that alternations made respect the character and special interest of the building. If an owner wants to demolish, alter or extend their property they must apply to the Council for Listed Building Consent. This applies to internal as well as external works.

Even quite minor changes may need consent so it is advisable to check with one of the Conservation officers at the Council before any work is undertaken. To alter or extend a Listed Building in a way that would affect its character without consent is a criminal offence and the penalties can be high.

Alterations and extensions may also require Planning Permission. Listed buildings do not have the benefit of any permitted development rights under the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995. The Planning Helpdesk can advise on planning matters and can provide application forms for both planning permission and Listed Building Consent.

How much of a building is listed.

The whole of any building is listed, both internally and externally. There is no such thing of a listed façade or listed interior.

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