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Listed Buildings

Listed Buildings

Owning a Listed Building is like being its custodian, it should be enjoyed for the present whilst at the same time preserved for future occupiers and generations.

If you are buying or renovating a Listed Building please ask for the advice of our Conservation Officer before you commit yourself. The Conservation Officer can give practical advice on repair and renovation methods and guidance with the requirements for Planning Permission and Listed Building Consent.

Which Buildings are Listed?

Confirmation on whether a building is listed, together with its Grade and list description is available from our Conservation Officer. Buildings are chosen for their architectural style, historical associations, unusual construction methods or their value as part of a group. The list is complied to protect and conserve the country's built heritage by ensuring that such buildings are not demolished or altered without careful consideration. Listed Buildings are entered as a Local Land Charge and the information must be revealed when a search is made on the property.

What do the Grades Mean?

Listed Buildings can be Grade I, Grade II or Grade II*, which indicate their relative importance. Grade I buildings are of exceptional importance. Grade II buildings are of special interest. Particularly important buildings in this category are classified as Grade II*.

How are Buildings Listed?

It is the duty of the Secretary of State to compile Statutory Lists, but the District Council, members of the public, or any other body, can request that a building be considered for listing. Our Conservation Officer can provide advice and guidance on making such a request.
An owner may appeal to the Department of National Heritage against the listing of a building and may apply for a building to be de-listed.

Is just the outside of the Building Listed?

The listing relates to the inside and outside as well as later additions and outbuildings. It can include structures attached to the building as well as some free standing within its curtilage. So for example the removal or alteration of fireplaces, staircases, panelling, floors, chimneys and garages, outhouses, boundary walls etc, are covered by listed building legislation.

Do I need Consent?

Listed Buildings Consent is needed for any works of demolition, alteration or extension, which would affect the character of a listed building. For example, any extension, a change of materials (eg clay tiles to concrete), the replacement of existing elements (eg windows), as well as structural changes to the interior or the removal of internal features, are likely to need consent.

Works of day to day repair and redecoration are unlikely to require consent as do works to plumbing, heating and electrical services, provided that the structure of the building and period details remain unaltered. The repainting of the exterior of listed building using a different colour requires consent as does the cleaning of brick and stone using abrasive methods. It is often difficult to distinguish between repair and alterations that require permission.

How do I obtain Consent?

Application forms and guidance notes are obtainable from Development Control which should be submitted together with accurate plans of the proposed works, usually by means of "before" and "after" plans and elevations. There is no fee for a listed building application. However, the proposed works may require planning permission and/or Building Regulations, for which a fee is payable. Owners should be aware that unauthorised works may lead to prosecution to ensure the building is returned to its previous condition and/or appearance.
Discuss proposals with Development Control at an early stage and give adequate time for an application to be considered. If in doubt contact us first.

How does the Council consider my Application

The key test is whether the essential character and appearance of the listed building is sympathetically retained. If a proposal is considered to be unacceptable permission will be withheld unless there are other compelling reasons for doing otherwise. The purpose of this approach is not to prevent any alterations to a listed building, but to ensure that they are carefully considered and that consent is only given in appropriate cases.

Proposals for listed building consent receive very careful attention and should be designed with care.

What about Restoration and Repair?

Before starting any works of repair it is important to understand the historic structure and development of the building. Historic buildings are different form modern buildings and require knowledge of the structural behaviour of traditional materials and building methods. All works to historic buildings must try and retain its original structure and features and keep new works to a minimum. Historic buildings have been the subject of continual change and evolution and few exist in the form they were originally constructed. In this sense, conservation allows for change as well as preservation, but in all cases should respect the integrity of the original building.

Where change is appropriate, it should be carried out in a sensitive way. The repair and restoration of historic buildings should primarily employ traditional materials and methods of construction. The use of inappropriate modern materials, eg UPVC plastic, asbestos slate, concrete tiles, cement render, plastic pipes etc, are damaging to the appearance and structure of traditional buildings.

Common failings of some restoration schemes are to replace original features, unify all windows and doors and "straighten everything up". Any attempt to take the building back to the original must respect that buildings have evolved over centuries, and 19th century features may be just as important as earlier features.

Repair is better than restoration, where restoration involves the replacement or alteration of architectural or historic features.

VAT and Zero Rating

Listed buildings enjoy a more favourable position on the payment of VAT than do other buildings. Alterations, as long as they are carried out with Listed Building Consent, may be zero rated. In most cases VAT remains payable on repairs and on the works which do not require consent.

Further information on VAT should be sought fro the Customs and Excise Office, as the District Council has no authority on this subject.

Listed Buildings "at risk"

Where a property is being allowed to fall into serious disrepair, the District Council may serve a Repairs Notice to secure its preservation. For vacant buildings, proper weather proofing and securing of openings (to prevent theft, vandalism and fires) are essential safeguards.

If you are concerned about a building that you know or if you own an historic building that is falling into disrepair, our Conservation Officer, will be pleased to advice on its maintenance and repair.

New uses for old Buildings

The District Council is anxious to encourage the revitalisation of vacant listed buildings and buildings at risk to secure their preservation. To be successful, such alternative viable uses should not require alterations that detract from the building's character and historic importance, and should also satisfy other planning criteria.

The best use for a listed building is that similar to which it was originally designed, although alternative use may be appropriate where the listed value is not adversely affected.


  • This advice should be read in conjuction with the "Do I Need Planning Permission" leaflet.

The Development Control Section is based at Fenland Hall, County Road, March. PE15 8NQ

Telephone Number: 01354 654321


If you wish to discuss a proposal please ask to speak to, or make an appointment with, one of the Senior Technical Support Officers in the Development Control Section.