Listed Buildings

Buildings are listed for their 'Special Architectural or Historic Interest' and are protected under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990

Listing is the statutory process by which buildings or structures are added to the list of buildings of special architectural or historic interest by the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990. The lists include a great variety of structures, from castles, churches and dwellings to walls, gravestones and telephone boxes. Listing gives statutory protection to historic buildings and allows their special character and interest to be taken into account before any changes are made to them.

Listing identifies buildings of national ‘special interest’. The main criteria used are:

  • Age and rarity
  • Architectural interest
  • Historic interest
  • Close historical associations with nationally important people and events
  • Group value, especially where buildings are part of an important architectural or historic group or are a fine example of planning (for example squares, terraces or model villages)

Categories of listed buildings:

  • Grade I buildings are of exceptional interest, sometimes considered to be internationally important; only 2.5% of listed buildings are Grade I
  • Grade II* buildings are particularly important buildings of more than special interest; 5.5% of listed buildings are Grade II*
  • Grade II buildings are nationally important and of special interest; 92% of all listed buildings are in this class and it is the most likely grade of listing for a home owner

For all grades, listing applies to the whole of the exterior and interior of the building, plus any object or structure fixed to the building and any object or structure within the curtilage of the building which, although not fixed to the building, forms part of the land and has done so since before 1 July 1948.

Listed Building Consent is required for any alterations which affect the character of the listed building.

Find out if your property is listed.

You can find out whether a property is listed by using the 'Property' tab on our Public Access Search page. Once you have selected the street and property, click on the 'Constraints' tab to see if it is listed. 

Energy efficiency and historic buildings

There is increasing awareness of the need to improve the thermal efficiency of buildings and mitigate climate change.  However, well-meaning but unsympathetic alterations can have a damaging effect on the character and appearance of historic buildings, and can lead to a loss of historic fabric.

The English Heritage website has a range of useful information about saving energy by improving the energy efficiency of historic buildings in ways which are sympathetic to their fabric and character.

Maintenance of historic buildings

Regular maintenance is important to preserve the character and special interest of historic buildings, and can help to limit the need for, or extent of, expensive repairs.

Advice on maintaining historic buildings can be found in the leaflet A Stitch In Time: Maintaining Your Property Makes Good Sense and Saves Money, prepared by the Institute of Historic Building Conservation (IHBC) in association with the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB).  Guidance is provided on all aspects of historic building maintenance.   

Prospective purchasers of listed buildings

Potential purchasers of listed buildings are advised to consider the suitability of the existing building for their purposes before they buy it, or alternatively consider submitting a listed building application for their required alterations before they purchase, to avoid disappointment if their proposals are rejected. 

Advice on buying an old building can be found in the leaflet Look Before You Leap, produced by the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB). 

Adverts and signage on listed buildings

For detailed advice on adverts and signage with regard to listed buildings please see Advertisements in Conservation Areas and Listed Buildings