What approvals do I need to renovate a listed building?

All buildings, included listed properties, evolve over time and the fact that a building is listed does not mean it can’t be altered and changed.

Local authorities in England receive 32,000 applications a year for listed building consent, and 90 per cent are approved.

Whether your property is Grade I, II* or II listed, you will need listed building consent for alterations to both the exterior and the interior of the property. This means any internal reconfiguration, external work such as replacement of doors and windows and any proposed extensions will need approval. In addition, 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, are treated as part of the listed building. Listed building consents do not incur any fees and are in addition to the usual planning regulations that may apply.

It is a criminal offence to carry out work which needs listed building consent without obtaining it beforehand, so it is extremely important that you follow the correct procedures when looking to alter a listed building. Any work that is carried out without permission may have to be reversed and in some cases, the property owner may even be prosecuted.

This may all sound a little daunting if this is the first time you’ve owned a listed property, but don’t let it deter you. The best thing to do is to take the advice of the conservation officer at your local authority well before you start to draw up any plans. Generally, these are employees of the local council and their role is to ensure the character of the building is preserved. Conservation officers understand the need for listed buildings to be adapted – whether this is modernising bathrooms or creating open-plan living spaces ­– and each case will be considered individually. In some situations, they may approve major changes ­– and will specify whether extensions need to match the original building or be constructed out of a different material so as to clearly distinguish old from new.

Once you have all the correct approvals in place, the real fun of turning a listed property into a dream home can begin… check out The Listed Property Owners’ Club at lpco.co.uk for more help and support.

Peter Little
Property Conservation Company Ltd