Listed buildings

Printer-friendly page

What can or can't I do to a Listed Building?

Listed Buildings can be extremely old or modern and can vary from large mansions to small cottages and from the ruins of Roman buildings to 19th century mileposts. Each Listed Building has a different character and so many different features make up its character making it impossible to give a general answer to this question.

However, there are some common misunderstandings and key points that are often raised. The following are worth noting. It is the whole building inside and out that is listed - not just its façade, not just its structure and not just certain interesting features. Listed Building consent controls proposals for changes to Listed Buildings and is similar to planning permission.

Listed Building consent will always be required for extensions. Listed Building consent will always be required for works or alterations which affect the character of the building outside or inside. Even works to a related outbuilding or wall may require Listed Building consent.

Repairs may need Listed Building consent, particularly when they involve removal of original or historic fabric or features, even if these are to be rebuilt or replaced with replicas. For example, this would include removal of historic wall or ceiling plaster, replacing windows (even modern ones), removing partition wall (even seemingly modern ones which may have replaced an earlier one and their position on the floor may be of significance. Seemingly minor works can affect the building's character eg the unsuitable positioning of a burglar alarm, painting outside walls or historic internal panelling a different colour, tiling internal walls or floors, installing recessed ceiling lighting. Sometimes a series of minor works taken together have a large impact on character.

Failure to obtain Listed Building consent before carrying out works is a criminal offence which could result in a fine or imprisonment. Failure to follow the approved drawings or failure to comply with the conditions of the Listed Building consent whilst carrying out the works is also a criminal offence which could result in a fine or imprisonment. You are strongly advised to contact the Planning Department before making any changes to a Listed Building or other ancillary buildings, walls, railings, fences etc on the site.

Back to the top
Date of last review: 06 April 2017