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Listed buildings

Listed building consent

It is an offence to execute without consent any works of demolition on a Listed Building or any works of alteration or extension which would affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest.

The procedure for obtaining Listed Building Consent is very similar to that for obtaining planning permission, although no fee is payable.

Regulations govern the making of applications,notifications of owners, advertisement of applications and appeals. There are three important differences:

  • There is a presumption in favour of preservation of Listed Buildings, backed by detailed guidance from the Secretary of State on the criteria which should be taken into account in determining applications for Listed Building Consent; the importance of the building, its architectural or historic merit, its condition and the importance of any alternative use for the site 

  • An authority must not grant consent for demolition without notifying the Secretary of State. He has 28 days in which to either call-in the application for his determination, or to give notice that the matter will not be called-in

  • A local authority cannot grant Deemed Consent for works to their own Listed Buildings. They must apply to the Secretary of State

Building preservation notices

A Building Preservation Notice can be served by the Local Authority where it appears to them that a building of special architectural or historic interest, which is not currently Listed, is in danger of demolition or alteration. 

A Building Preservation Notice has the effect of extending Listed Building control to the building for six months, or until the building is Listed, or the Secretary of State notifies the Local Planning Authority that he does not intend to List it.

Buildings in disrepair and the buildings at risk register

The legislation gives the Local Planning Authority powers to serve a Listed Building Enforcement Notice in respect of unauthorised works to a Listed Building. It also makes it clear that anyone doing anything which caused, or is likely to result in, damage to a Listed Building shall be guilty of an offence and liable to prosecution.

In addition, local authorities have two powers which are intended to forestall dereliction:

  • Firstly, by serving an "Urgent Repairs Notice" the Local Planning Authority can give the building's owner at least seven days' notice of its intention to carry out necessary repairs and recover the cost of doing so from him

  • Secondly, where the building is not being properly preserved following the service of a Full Repairs Notice, the Local Planning Authority has the power to compulsorily acquire the building subject to the Secretary of State's approval

Compensation may be payable when compulsory purchase powers are used. However, where a Listed Building has been deliberately allowed to fall into disrepair so as to justify its demolition, it is open to the Local Planning Authority to seek a direction for minimum compensation. The effect of this is that the building is valued as having no redevelopment value except in respect of development or works necessary for its restoration and proper maintenance.

Local authorities may also serve Listed Building Enforcement Notices in order to restore character to a Listed Building altered, extended or demolished as a breach of a Listed Building Consent.

Buildings at risk register

English Heritage are responsible for preparing the English Heritage Register of Buildings at Risk. It brings together information on all the grade I and grade II* listed buildings, and scheduled monuments (structures rather than earthworks), known to English Heritage to be "at risk" through neglect or decay, or vulnerable to becoming so. Most of the buildings are in poor to very bad condition, but a few in fair condition are also included, usually because they have become functionally redundant, making their future uncertain.

What policies apply to listed buildings

Generally, the Council seeks to preserve listed buildings, their settings and any features of architectural or historic interest.

We would not normally approve an application to demolish a listed building, allow alterations that would involve the loss of historic parts of the building, obscure the original plan form, layout or structural integrity, or otherwise diminish the historic value of listed buildings.

The Council also aims to keep listed buildings in their original use, or if this use no longer exists, in another use that causes least harm to the building. Many buildings can sustain some sensitive alterations or extensions to accommodate continuing or new uses. But listed buildings vary greatly in the extent to which they can be changed without harm to their special architectural or historic interest.

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