There are all sorts of listed structures in England and Wales. Listed building status constitutes any building that is of historical or architectural importance to the nation. If you happen to live in a listed structure, there are special sets of regulations you need to know about that other homeowners might not need to comply with. Listed structures play a part in the British national identity and owning one should be a source of pride… not a source of despair.
What is a listed structure?
A listed structure is a building that has been designated by the UK government to be either of historic or of architectural importance. Three different grades classify listed structures according to importance. Read on to find out more on listed structures.
The first grade is considered to be the most explicitly important. Examples of Grade I listed buildings include the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol, the Albert Dock in Liverpool and Warwick Castle in Warwick. This grade is very rare, and is most difficult to acquire.
A Grade II* listed structure is any structure considered to be of significant importance either historically or architecturally. These represent around five per cent of all listed structures. Some good examples of a Grade II* listed building include Capel Manor House in Horsmonden in Kent, the Middlesbrough Transporter Bridge, or St John’s Jerusalem, also in Kent.
Grade II listed buildings are by far the most common type, making up over 90% of all listed buildings registered. Historic England considersGrade II listed structures are considered to be of special interest historically or architecturally. Good examples of some Grade II listed structures include the Church of St. Bride in London, Victoria railway station also in London, and the Kursaal, Southend-on-Sea.
Mixed grade designations
Some listed structures may fall into mixed designation listed structures. This happens because the interior and the exterior parts of any listed structure are considered to be two separate entities. This means the interior of a building might be Grade I listed while the exterior grounds and gardens might only be Grade II. Some examples of mixed designation buildings include Manor Farm Ruislip in Middlesex, the Golden Lane estate in the city of London and West Norwood cemetery.
If you do happen to live in a listed structure, then the chances are that you’re living in a Grade II listed building. Follow this link to check if you own a listed building.
Other types of listed structure
You may come across Grade A, Grade B, and Grade C listed structures. This occurs when certain local councils (for example, Birmingham) choose to keep their local listed structures separate from Historic England’s listed structures. It also happens sometimes for churches, who up until very recently still choose to use Grades A, B and C instead of I, II*, or II.
What is it that Makes a Structure Listed?
Historic England considers certain conditions when examining whether a building can make the list. Anyone can nominate any building in England and Wales but Historic England decides whether the building will be accepted.
Age and special features
They will look at certain qualifying factors – the chief one of which being the age of the building. Any significantly old building has a greater chance of being registered as a listed structure. They will also look at the architectural design of the building. If it has any specific features that need to be preserved, then this will be taken into account. They will also decide whether preserving the building would be of national interest.
Building condition is irrelevant
It is important to note that they do not take the condition of the building into consideration when deciding whether it can be classed as a listed structure. This ensures that well-known castle ruins or tourist destinations are preserved under the same rules.
The Special Responsibilities of a Listed Structure Owner
If you have recently moved into a listed structure (or if you’re considering buying one) then special rules will apply to you. Predominantly, this means that you won’t be able to make any changes to your listed structure without first seeking acceptance from the local council.
You might also want to check out: Listed Building: regulations and permissions for restoration
Consent from local council
Your local council should have a conservation officer who will go through this process with you. You should not need permission for every single change that you make to the listed structure in question, but if you intend to demolish, renovate, or make significant repairs to that property then the consent is needed by law.
Reparation of damages
As the owner of a listed structure, you are responsible for making sure that any damage is repaired using materials and methods as close to the original building as possible. This applies to extensions and alterations of any internal or external features covered by a building’s listed status, and also any demolitions that may be made. If you fail to seek the appropriate permission then you may be prosecuted.
Insurance of building
Authorities are also allowed to serve temporary presentation notices which stay in effect for 6 months or until the secretary of state has reviewed each case. This can halt the demolition or renovation of a project on a listed structure until consents have been met. This piece of legislation extends to new homeowners as well. Therefore, if you were to purchase a listed structure and the previous owner had made poor repairs on it – you would still be liable to correct this damage. In line with this, we thoroughly recommend that you get yourself a listed structure insurance once you choose to move into a listed structure.
Listed structures tend to be old and old buildings attract problems like mould, damp, and rot. All these things can be costly, particularly, if the listed structure needs to be repaired using the original materials. If you don’t have insurance and the worst does happen, you could find yourself in financial difficulty very quickly. It is best to be on the side of caution and pay the premiums for peace of mind.
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.