Listed Buildings Search is a tool that can help you look up listed buildings in England, Wales, and Scotland. Listed buildings across the United Kingdom refers to a building that has been placed on the Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. Currently, the United Kingdom has nearly 500,000 listed buildings registered. By reading on, you can learn about what this means especially if you happen to live in or own property that is considered to be a listed building.
What is a listed building?
Listed buildings must meet specific criteria before they can be considered listed. Listed buildings must be a man-made structure that has survived in something close to its original condition. The list primarily consists of buildings, but it can also include monuments, bridges, and other notable areas.
All buildings that were built before 1700 and are very close to their original condition are considered listed. Most buildings built between 1700 and 1840 are also considered listed as long as they are close to their original condition. As time goes on, the criteria to make the list becomes stricter, so any building after 1945 must be of exceptional importance in order to be listed. Anything less than 30 years old is not eligible for listed status.
Damages to period buildings during World War II when the Germans bombed England necessitated the creation of statutory lists. Prior to this, only important ancient monuments had statutory protection or state recognition. The Town and Country Planning Act 1947 developed a process for listing structures, creating the first formal list of these listed buildings.
England and Wales
In England and Wales, three grades applies to listed buildings: Grade I, Grade II*, Grade II. Grade I are buildings that are sometimes considered internationally important but are all of exceptional interest. This is such a strict grade that only 2.5% of the listed buildings are Grade I. Grade II* buildings are important buildings that are considered more than just special interest. Only about 5.5% of listed buildings are of this grade. Lastly, Grade II are buildings that are of special interest and nationally important. This is the grade that listed buildings are most likely to be classified as, with about 92% of all buildings fitting in this classification.
In Scotland, they use a 3-category system of A, B, and C. The Scottish assessment criteria is slightly different from the grades in England and Wales, meaning that the grade II* may not be the same as the Scotland criteria for their category B.
Additional Information about Listed Buildings
There was a massive outcry in 1980 at the demolition of the Firestone Factory, a classic art deco building. This outcry led to the government reinstituting a resurvey of buildings to make sure that they didn’t miss any single one that should be preserved and add any necessary buildings to that list. During this time, officials added the largest number of buildings to the list. Around 36,000 buildings were added just in 1987. The process was primarily completed by 1989 and buildings have been rarely added since this time. For instance, in 2013 they added just 420 buildings to the list. In 2016, 1,156 structure were added. This later boom of additional structures to the lists were mostly war memorials and war-related structures that were not originally considered to meet the criteria.
What You Need to Know about Listed Buildings
If a property you live in or own is considered to be “listed,” you don’t have 100% control over any changes that are made to the property in both the interior and exterior of the building. Before doing anything on the property, owners need to apply for Listed Building Consent for any work impacting the “special architectural or historic interest” of the property.
You might also want to check out: Listed buildings – knowing the ins and outs of owning a listed property
What it covers
Listing does cover the whole property unless otherwise excluded in the list description. This also covers later extensions or additions to the building, attached structures and fixtures, and any pre-1948 buildings on the land attached to the building. Every building is unique, so what the listing covers for each building can vary greatly. Not every protected detail will be properly mentioned. This is why it is essential to check with the local planning authority before you do any work to make sure that you are not going against any regulations on the property.
Making the changes
Protection doesn’t mean that you can’t make any changes to the property. The Local Planning Authority usually approves most cases of applications for alterations on the property.
Assessment of the proposed alterations
There will be a thorough assessment of the proposed changes to ensure that the changes won’t have a major impact on the historic aesthetic of the building. A conservation officer that works at the local authority planning department will take care of this assessment. Ask them about what you want to achieve with your changes. They will let you know what is acceptable. The conservation officers are typically very flexible. They can be a great resource to get advice from before starting any project. If a building is a Grade I or II*, the assessment will be done by English Heritage or some other similar body.
A proper approval must be obtained first before getting any work done on your property. It can also be a big mistake to assume that your builder understands all of the laws regarding listed properties. Working with a conservation officer is the best approach you can do.
Use a Listed Buildings Search
You should use the Listed Buildings Search to verify if your property is on the list. If it is, you must go through all of the proper channels to make sure that any alterations that you want to make to the property are approved. Not doing so could be a very costly mistake. The Listed Buildings Search is easy to use, allowing you to search by keyword or postcode to find your property. The search tool also shows the grade of the property, if listed. This is all valuable information that you may need in the future. Whether you are a local or a tourist, the Listed Buildings Search will help you discover the wonders and heritage of England!
This article was written on behalf of Boulton & Boyce by Pieter Boyce. Pieter has an intense passion for English Architectural history and has been specialising in the conservation of original wooden windows and doors for decades. His exceptional knowledge of timber windows and doors, both listed or non-listed, is attributed to his hands-on approach to learning all aspects of the complete restoration of original features as well as having personally surveyed thousands of items throughout his long tenure as a head surveyor for one of the largest window and door restoration companies in the UK. He now runs a boutique wooden window and door consultancy and fervently champions the retention of original windows and doors. To learn more of Pieter’s services, visit his website at www.boultonboyce.co.uk.