Listed buildings: a practical guide to getting consent

Image of listed building by Buildsmith

Listed buildings are part of our nation’s heritage, and are something to be truly proud of. It’s for that reason that any construction work that takes place on them must be done in a way that protects that heritage, and has no negative impact on its character or appearance. As such, the process of gaining consent for works is very different from applying for planning permission or Class Q permitted developments.

Not seeking consent or proceeding with work without consent are criminal offences, and ignorance over its listed status is not an excuse. So, if you want to alter or extend listed buildings, getting planning consent is a must.

This blog covers all the key parts of getting consent for work on listed buildings.

Where should you start with consent for listed buildings?

Firstly, you should discuss your plans with the Conservation Officer at your local planning authority; this consultation will cost a certain fee.

As all listed buildings are different, there are no hard and fast rules around what is and isn’t permissible, and the decision on whether consent will be given will come down to the Conservation Officer’s professional opinion.

Ultimately, they will advise on whether your plans are acceptable, or on any areas where changes can be made.

What should an application involve?

Your application should demonstrate that your work prioritises the character, appearance and desirability of the listed building in question, both internally and externally.

Understanding the history of the building and why it’s listed is important to get these considerations right, so make sure you conduct full research (if you haven’t done so already).

How long does the application process take?

The application process for listed buildings generally takes between 8 and 13 weeks, varying according to the scale of the proposed work.

Within this, there will be a three-week period of consultation where local residents, businesses and organisations can register their views on the proposed work. The Conservation Officer will take these views into account when making their decision. If your application involves one of the Grade I or Grade II* listed buildings, then English Heritage will also give their opinion.

What should you do if consent for work on listed buildings is refused?

If consent is refused, you will receive written reasons for the refusal (which are often written in ways that are hard to understand, so you may want the help of an expert in this area).

You then have two options – the first of which is to amend your plans and apply again, with the issues highlighted by the Conservation Officer covered. The second, if you feel the decision was unreasonable, is to appeal to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government within six months.

At Buildsmith Solutions, we’ve been working on applications for listed buildings consent for years, helping clients like you get the authorisation they need to progress their plans.

Our experts can advise on your initial ideas and suggest amendments that can maximise your chances of getting approval, and give you vital support when making the application itself.

Get in touch with our team today for a friendly, no-obligation chat about your plans.