What is Listed Building Consent?

What is Listed Building Consent?

Importance of Listed Building Consent

A listed building in the United Kingdom is a building which has been placed on the Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. Buildings are listed for a variety of reasons and may qualify under one or more of these criteria: Architectural, historical or because of its ‘group value’, which happens particularly where buildings together make up an important architectural or historical unity or a fine example of planning (for example, squares, terraces, model villages). If a building is designated because of its group value, protection applies to the whole of the property, not just the exterior.

There is growing appreciation not just of the architectural set pieces, but of many more structures, especially industrial, agricultural and other vernacular buildings that, although sometimes individually unassuming, collectively reflect some of the most distinctive and creative aspects of British history.

In England and Wales the regulatory system is administered by English Heritage, with three grades of listed buildings:

  • Listed Building Consent LondonGrade I buildings are of exceptional interest;
  • Grade II* buildings are particularly important buildings of more than special interest;
  • Grade II buildings are of special interest, warranting every effort to preserve them

In Scotland this is managed by Historic Scotland with a parallel system that currently uses categories A, B and C rather than grades and the assessment criteria for the categories differs slightly from the English and Welsh system, so a category B building in Scotland is not necessarily equivalent to a grade II* building in the other classification.

English Heritage will investigate the merits of any application to be included in the list and make a recommendation to the Secretary of State (for Culture, Media and Sport) who will make the decision. It will only be taken in consideration if either it is demonstrably under serious threat of demolition or major alteration, or it is a Designation Department priority under the National Heritage Protection Plan, English Heritage’s programme of strategic work or it possesses evident significance and is obviously worthy of inclusion on the National Heritage List. This supporting information should include documentary evidence such as historic maps, images and research reports, and include a list of the sources used in completing the research.

There should normally be some quality of interest in the physical fabric of the building itself to justify the statutory protection afforded by listing, following these general principles:

  1. Age and rarity: The older a building is and the fewer the surviving examples of its kind, the more likely it is to have special interest.
  2. Aesthetic merits: The appearance of a building both its intrinsic architectural merit and any group value.
  3. Selectivity: Because it represents a particular historical type in order to ensure that examples of such a type are preserved.
  4. National Interest: Being a contribution to the national historic stock.
  5. State of repair: The Secretary of State will list a building which has been assessed as meeting the statutory criteria, irrespective of its state of repair.


The responsibility of owning a listed building can bring with it a significant cost burden. There are costs associated to maintaining the building in a good state of repair, the LBC application (which is time consuming as well) and any costs associated with undertaking the works, although those that have gained LBC are zero-rated for VAT.

We at Detailed Planning Ltd are a great help in a situation where owners of listed buildings are, for instance, compelled to repair and/or maintain a listed building. A listed building may not be demolished, extended or altered without the necessary permission from the local planning authority. It is potentially a criminal offence to fail to apply for listed building consent when it is required or if unauthorised alterations are performed. As from 26th June 2013 some new list entries or list entries amended after that date may provide that part or feature of the building is not of special architectural or historic interest, but any cases of doubt should be explored with the planning department of the local authority. When alterations are permitted, or when listed buildings are repaired or maintained, the owners are often compelled to use specific (and potentially expensive) materials or techniques. This increases the cost of insuring the building but obviously the value of the property as well.

Listed Building Consent Another situation may be the need of urgent works to preserve unoccupied listed buildings. A local authority may execute any works which appear to them to be urgently necessary for the preservation of a listed building in their area, giving notice to the owner of the building requiring him to pay the expenses of the works. English Heritage targets grants to cases of real need and where a building will be used in a way which will ensure its permanent survival.

If you wish to add an extension, you will need to apply for both planning permission and LBC. Do not worry, even quite radical changes can gain consent. In some cases, a contemporary alteration or extension is deemed preferable to one that pretends to be part of the original.


When English Heritage or Historic Scotland receive an application, they notify the owner and local planning authority of the request. Once they have completed their research and possibly a site visit, to find out more about the proposed candidate for designation, they will put together an initial report which will be sent out to the owner, applicant and local planning authority for consultation. Consultees will be asked to send in their responses within 21 days from the date of the consultation letter. Owners using planning consultants to assist them may want to take this deadline into consideration.

The application should include documentary evidence such as historic maps, images, research reports and include a list of the sources used in completing the investigation. The professional drawings submitted will need to illustrate both existing building, the proposals and whether the interior would be affected. A much greater level of detail than for a regular planning application, where the interior is generally only of peripheral interest. In a listed building, every aspect is subject to the listing, such as interior door details.

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