Planning Permission or Listed Building Consent?

If you’re considering making alterations to a listed or period property, it’s always best to be on the right side of the law, but it can be confusing. Do you need Planning Permission or Listed Building Consent, or even both? Here’s what the law says...

So, you’ve bought the property of your dreams – yes it’s a listed building so needs a bit of internal decoration to make it the family home you had in mind, perhaps an extension to the back to create a des res kitchen/diner, and you just have to get rid of that ugly lean-to on the side. Simple?

Well, yes and no. There are laws in place when it comes to any planning works, whether your property is listed or not. These laws are there to protect home-owners and communities and also to protect buildings of special architectural or historic interest.

To make any changes to a listed building you first need to apply for Listed Building Consent from your local authority. This is for any works to the exterior and interior that may affect the character or appearance of your property as a building of special architectural or historic interest. So, that new staircase you want to put in, those dado rails you want to rip out – it all needs to have consent. As for that groovy kitchen/diner extension, make sure you have the relevant consents in place before going ahead.

You also need Listed Building Consent if you are seeking to demolish a listed building, so before you go taking down that ugly lean-to, check with your local authority first. They may help you come up with a solution to replace it with something more suitable.

You may think that small-scale works such as adding a roof light or changing the wallpaper could be carried out without needing consent, but many small changes can have a big impact. You need consent for any alterations that may affect the building’s special interest. The decision about whether these small-scale changes do affect your property’s special interest lies with your local planning authority.

Before you go thinking your hands are tied, it’s important to remember that Listed Building Consent isn’t there to stop you from modernising your home, it’s there to oversee alterations and to make sure they are in keeping with the original character of the building. More often than not, consents are granted; they work in the best interests of the property and the home owner with some outstanding results.

Planning Permission, on the other hand, is a different matter. It is required for exterior alterations to many homes, whether they are listed or not. Some alterations or extensions fall under the umbrella of Permitted Development Rights but it’s best to seek advice from your local authority before you start to make any changes. If you do need both Planning Permission and Listed Building Consent it is usually quickest to apply for them at the same time.

It is free to apply for Listed Building Consent – download the application form from your local authority’s website. For more advice and information about Listed Building Consents, visit

To find out more about whether you need Planning Permission for works to your property, head to

Peter Little
Property Conservation Company Ltd