Listed buildings

A listed building is a building of special architectural or historic interest. These buildings and structures are protected under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990. The official listings are compiled and managed by Historic England and are periodically reviewed and amended.

You can search the list of protected historic sites to see if a building is listed.

Buildings are listed and graded according to their importance:

  • Grade I buildings are of exceptional interest, sometimes considered to be internationally important
  • Grade II* buildings are particularly important buildings of more than special interest

  • Grade II buildings are nationally important and of special interest

A great variety of structures are listed, from castles, churches and dwellings to walls, gravestones and telephone boxes. Listing gives statutory protection to historic buildings and allows their special character and interest to be taken into account before any changes are made.

The main criteria used for listing are:

  • age and rarity

  • architectural interest

  • historic interest

  • close historical associations with nationally important people and events

  • group value, especially where buildings are part of an important architectural or historic group or are a fine example of planning (for example squares, terraces or model villages)

For all grades, listing applies to the whole of the exterior and interior of the building. It also applies to 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.

Listed Building Consent

You will need to apply for listed building consent before carrying out works to demolish, alter or extend a listed building or structure. This includes repairs and replacements and any alterations which affect the character of the listed building.

Listed building consent applies to:

  • works to the interior or exterior of a building or structure

  • any building or structure that is attached to the listed building

  • some buildings within the grounds of a listed building (if they are curtilage listed)

  • any other works which would affect the character of a building of special architectural or historic interest

You will also need planning permission for works to, or the erection of, any unlisted buildings or structures that are within the grounds of a listed building.

You should always check with us before carrying out any works to or within the grounds of a listed building. It is a criminal offence to carry out work to a listed building or structure without first getting consent. 

If you are the owner of a listed building you have a responsibility and duty to look after and maintain your property. The council can insist that owners of listed buildings carry out works to preserve the building.

Advice and information

Historic England provides further support and advice for the owners of listed buildings. They provide useful information on matters such as energy efficiency and maintenance of historic buildings.

The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB) also provide technical advice and publications on period properties.

Scheduled Monuments

Some listed buildings are Scheduled Monuments. Scheduled Monuments fall under the protection of Historic England and require Ancient Schedule Monument Consent for any works to the structure. Visit Historic England for further information on Scheduled Monuments.