Listing a building gives legal protection, so that it can be conserved for future generations to enjoy.

A statutory listed building is a building or structure which the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, based on recommendation from Historic England considers being of special architectural or historic interest. Listing gives a building legal protection from demolition and adverse alterations which could destroy its historic fabric or affect its character and appearance.

The whole of a building is listed – the exterior and interior, together with any outbuildings, wall or other curtilage structure built before 1st July 1948 within the grounds of the building.

Listed buildings are graded to show their level of interest:

  • Grade I – buildings of exceptional interest and quality and have international importance
  • Grade II* - particularly important buildings of more than special interest
  • Grade II – nationally important and of special interest, the majority of listed buildings of special interest

You should always check whether you need permission (listed building consent) well in advance of starting any work.

You will need listed building consent for any work that will affect the character and appearance of your building.

In order to gain consent to carry out works to a listed building, you must apply for listed building consent.

These works could include:

  • Painting of the external walls, windows and doors.
  • Replacement windows and doors.
  • Forming new openings both internally and externally.
  • Erecting or removing internal walls and features.
  • Installation of new staircases to facilitate a loft conversion.
  • Conversion or alterations to outbuildings and external walls.
  • Extensions (planning permission may also be required for extensions).
  • Demolition, including chimneys, internal walls and buildings or walls within the grounds.
  • New roof, gutters, drainpipes.

Apply for listed building consent

You can apply for listed building consent by either:

Like-for-like repairs may not necessarily require listed building consent but it is advisable that you seek advice from the council. The submission of a schedule of works is very helpful for the council to determine what works are considered to be repairs or what may require listed building consent.

If you are unsure as to whether the works proposed require consent, you can call us on (01283) 508606 and we will advise you.

If you own a listed building it is your responsibility as custodian of the building to ensure that any repairs, maintenance or alterations are appropriate in the context of the building. You can also contact Historic England for practical advice on looking after your listed building.


It is a criminal offence to carry out work without permission and the council may consider prosecution if work is carried out illegally without listed building consent. The maximum sentence on conviction in the magistrates' court is imprisonment for up to 6 months, a fine of up to £20,000 or both. If convicted in the crown court the maximum sentence is 2 years imprisonment or an unlimited fine. In determining the amount of any fine, the court will take into account any financial gain by the offender as a result of the offence.

As well as prosecuting an owner for carrying out works without permission, the council can issue an enforcement notice which means that the owner must put the building back into its original condition. Failure to comply with an enforcement notice can lead to a fine of up to £20,000 in the magistrates' court or an unlimited fine in the crown court.

Listed buildings at risk

Formal action can be taken by the council in the form of an urgent works notice or repairs notice to ensure the preservation of a listed building. A national register of heritage sites at risk is produced annually by English Heritage and includes ancient monuments, Grade I and II* listed buildings and conservation areas at risk.