About listed buildings


What is a listed building?

A 'listed building' is a building, object or structure that has been judged to be of national historical or architectural interest. It is included on a register called the "List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest", drawn up by central Government. 


Any object or structure fixed to the building and any object or structure within the curtilage of the building is also treated as part of the listed building if it has been there since before 1 July 1948.


You can download a schedule of listed buildings in the borough under Downloads on the right.


Since April 2015, the work of English Heritage has been split into two organisations. English Heritage now runs the 'National Heritage Collection' of historic buildings and sites open for visits by the public. Listed buildings are looked after by Historic England.  


What are the different grades of listing?

Listed buildings are placed in one of three grades, according to their importance - grade I, grade II* or grade II. Grade I and II* listed buildings make up a small number (about 6% nationally) of all listed buildings. They are normally buildings of outstanding architectural or historic interest. Most listed buildings are grade II and are an important part of our built heritage which is given special protection.


What are the criteria for listing?

The following are the main criteria for listing:


  • Architectural interest: Buildings are important because of their design, decoration and craftsmanship; also important examples of particular building types and techniques
  • Historic interest: Showing important aspects of social, economic, cultural or military history
  • Historic association: Close historical association with nationally important people or events
  • Group value: Buildings form an important architectural or historic group, or are a fine example of planning such as squares, terraces or model villages


The older a building is, and the fewer of its kind that are left, the more likely it is to have historic importance. All buildings built before 1700 which survive in anything like their original condition are listed, as are most buildings built between 1700 and 1840.


Buildings built after 1840 may be listed, but only if they have definite quality and character. Buildings less than 30 years old are normally listed only if they are of outstanding quality and under threat. Buildings cannot be listed until they are at least 10 years old.


How is a building listed?

Buildings are added in one of three ways:


  • Periodic survey of a borough or district
  • Studies of particular building types e.g. post-war housing
  • Spot listing of individual buildings under threat


There is no requirement to consult the owners before a building is listed but unless an inspector is aware of a specific threat, they will contact the owner or leave a visiting card. There is also no right of appeal against a listing and no right to compensation for loss of redevelopment opportunities.


Can I get a building listed or delisted?

Grading can be changed after damage or alteration, or as more evidence of a building's history or architectural quality comes to light. But the controls on alterations apply equally to all listed buildings whatever the grade.


Any request to review a listing needs to be made to Historic England, and will need to show new evidence relating specifically to the architectural or historic interest of the building. 


For more information, visit the Historic England website.


What information does listing include?

The Statutory List includes a description of each building, which will refer to some important features of an historic building. Every part of a building is listed, including the interior and any later alterations or additions. Even if a feature (internal or external) is not included on the description, it is of interest and it is still part of the listed building.


What are the effects of listing?

You will need the Council's consent to demolish a listed building or for any alteration (both internally and externally) or extension which would affect its architectural or historic character. Listed building consent is different from planning permission but the process is very similar. Find out more about listed building consent.


It is a criminal offence to do work to a listed building without getting listed building consent - even if you did not know that the building was listed. Carrying out unauthorised work is punishable by a fine or a prison sentence and the Council can ask you to put the building back the way it was.


Historic buildings at risk

Historic buildings which are at risk of survival through neglect and decay, and those vulnerable to future deterioration, are listed in a register. For more information, visit the historic buildings at risk page, or download a copy of the register from the downloads area to the right of this page.


Buildings of local value

There are also many buildings which are not listed, but have been included on a local register because they contribute to the character of the borough. Find out more about the local register of buildings of local value.