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Listed buildings

Listed buildings have been identified as demonstrating historic or architectural interest in their own right. There is no standard and they come in different shapes and sizes. They can be rural, urban and suburban and can include residential, retail and commercial property from different periods. It is estimated that there are around half a million listed buildings in the UK.

There are three categories of listing:

  • Grade 1 - buildings of exceptional interest
  • Grade 2*- particularly important buildings, of more than special interest.
  • Grade 2 - buildings of special interest

In the case of Grade 1 and 2* listings, Historic England will also be involved in considering applications for Listed Building Consent.

Is my property listed?

Buildings or structures within the curtilage of a listed building and built before 1948 are also fully protected by the listing designation. This is known as curtilage listed.

To find out if a property is in a listed building, you can search the Historic England official list.

Once you've selected the property address, scroll down to My Neighbourhood. This will show any planning restraints on the property.

Important: if your property is in a conservation area, you should also check to see if development is restricted under an Article 4 direction. Find our list of areas covered by article 4 directions in the Lewes district and Eastbourne.

What does owning a listed building mean in terms of work on my property?

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. Some minor repairs may be able to be undertaken without consent.

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.

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.

Making an application for Listed Building Consent

You can make an application for Listed Building Consent through the Planning Portal.

Your application will need to include a Heritage Statement setting out some background on the property, what work you are looking to undertake, what the effect of that work is on the significance of the listed building and how you have tried to reduce any negative impact arising from that work.

Please provide as much information as possible, including photographs, as this will help us understand what you want to achieve and how you will go about it. A clear and comprehensive heritage statement will minimise the number of follow-up questions we need to ask and will help ensure we process your application as quickly as possible.

Do I have to write a Heritage Statement?

A Heritage Statement has to be included for all listed building consent applications. The listed building is considered to be a heritage asset and any works to the building may have an impact on its significance. The heritage statement should describe how the works impact the significance of the heritage asset (listed building). The impact may be negative, neutral or positive. If you are required to write a heritage statement as part of your application, there is a heritage asset you may be impacting. If you live within a conservation area, the heritage statement should also describe how external works impact the significance of this.

We have a template that can be used to write a heritage statement. None of the boxes should be left blank and your application will not be able to be validated until a complete heritage statement has been submitted.


Heritage Statement Template (Word doc) [81KB]

How long does it take to get a decision on my Listed Building Consent application?

Usually between 6-8 weeks, though this can vary at peak periods. Our busiest period for Listed Building Consents tend to be from February/March all the way through to August. This is the period people are thinking about carrying out improvements to their home during the warmer weather and are hoping to get fast responses so they can start. To beat the rush and have your consent ready to implement works in the spring you should try to submit your application before Christmas.

Can I get advice before making a full application?

Conservation Drop-in

Find out details of when the next drop-in session will be held.

Pre-application advice

Informal advice is available before making a full application by using the pre-application route. This allows ideas and designs to be shared and feedback sought at an early stage. It should help making a stronger full application at the appropriate time though the feedback received at this stage is not binding and cannot guarantee success further down the line. There may be a fee for this service.

Historic England

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