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Listed Building Consent

Should you wish to alter, renovate, extend or demolish a listed building, then you need to apply for consent from the local planning authority before anything can happen. You will probably need to obtain listed building consent if you wish to separate any of the buildings in the grounds of a large estate, or split a building into different sections. 

Local Authority Conservation Officer

It's recommended to discuss your plans with the local conservation officer to find out if these would be approved without changes, only approved after changes, or completely rejected.  It is a simple idea that could save time as well as money.

Whilst the planning authority has the ability to approve or turn down applications, it has to provide detailed reasons for its decision. The authority has to consider the impact plans have on the infrastructure and the appearance of listed buildings. If your plans would lead to drastic changes, there is a good chance they will not be approved.

discussing building consent
close up view of judge's gavel

Is it against the law to alter a Listed Building?

It is illegal to make any changes to listed buildings that radically alter their appearance, function or features. People who change listed buildings without gaining permission risk prosecution if it can be proved they were responsible for doing so. 

Planning authorities have the power to insist that any changes they did not approve of to be reversed. It makes sense, therefore, to discuss plans with the planning authority and to gain their permission if required. Furthermore, an owner will find it harder to sell a listed building if they have carried out illegal changes. 

Important Things to Remember:

  • You are legally responsible for gaining permission for all changes and extensions concerning listed buildings and any other buildings on the property. 
  • Not only are you responsible for the changes you make, but also for unauthorised changes made by previous owners. 
  • Planning authorities have the power to prosecute you at a magistrates court for breaking the rules regarding listed building consent. If convicted you can be fined £20,000 or be jailed for six months, or both. 
  • Those punishments apply to the architect, the builder, the surveyor as well as yourself. When unauthorised works are found the council can insist that all the changes are reversed.