Listed Building and Conservation Area Planning and Development Advice
If you want to alter or extend a listed building in a way that affects its character or appearance as a building of special architectural or historic interest, or even demolish it, you must first apply for listed building consent from your local planning authority.
Unauthorised work is a criminal offence
You need to be aware that carrying out unauthorised works to a listed building is a criminal offence and individuals can be prosecuted. A planning authority can insist that all work carried out without consent is reversed. You should therefore always talk to the local planning authority before any work is carried out to a listed building. An owner will have trouble selling a property which has not been granted Listed Building Consent for work carried out. Changes to the way listed building consent can be granted have been introduced, and are explained in our web page on the effects of the Enterprise and Regulatory Act 2013.
Each building is different. There are no specific rules for what can or can't be done without consent. This of course introduces a nightmarish situation whereby individual Conservation Officers can have widely differing opinions as to what you can do.
When a Council considers whether to grant or to refuse an application it must have special regard to the desirability of preserving the building, its setting and any features that make it special. You should give consideration to these things when planning proposed changes - which means understanding the building and its history very well. Do your research - this is going to be needed for the 'Design and Access' statement which accompanies the application.
Listed status covers the Inside and Outside of a building. It is a common misconception that only the ouside is covered. Things needing consent might include the replacement of windows or doors, moving or removing internal walls, painting brickwork or stone, or changing fireplaces.
The Planning Charter published by English Heritage gives advice on what to provide with an application for consent.
The legal basis for listing a building in the United Kingdom is primarily established under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990. This legislation sets out the framework for identifying and protecting buildings of special architectural or historic interest.
The key provisions of the Act regarding listed buildings include:
Definition of Listed Buildings: The Act defines a listed building as a building or structure of special architectural or historic interest that is considered to be of national importance. It covers a wide range of structures, including residential, commercial, industrial, and religious buildings, as well as bridges, monuments, and other constructed features.
Listing Process: The Act outlines the process for listing a building. Historic England, Historic Environment Scotland, and the Cadw (the Welsh historic environment service) are the responsible bodies for assessing and listing buildings of special interest in England, Scotland, and Wales, respectively. The process involves evaluating the architectural and historic significance of a building and considering its national importance. If a building meets the criteria, it can be added to the relevant statutory list of protected buildings.
Legal Protection: Once a building is listed, it gains legal protection under the Act. The legislation makes it a criminal offense to carry out unauthorized demolition, alteration, or extension that would affect the character of the listed building. Even minor changes may require listed building consent, which is a separate planning process specific to listed buildings.
Enforcement and Penalties: Local planning authorities, such as city or district councils, are responsible for enforcing the legislation and ensuring compliance with the listed building consent requirements. If unauthorized works are carried out on a listed building, the local authority has the power to issue enforcement notices and potentially prosecute offenders. Penalties for unauthorized alterations can include fines and restoration or reconstruction orders.
Special Considerations: The Act recognizes that listed buildings may require special consideration regarding their repair, maintenance, and use. It allows for grants and other financial incentives to support the preservation and restoration of listed buildings.
It's important to note that the legal basis and specific processes for listing and protecting buildings may have some variations in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. The relevant legislation in those regions includes the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997, the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Wales) Act 1990, and the Planning (Northern Ireland) Order 1991.
It is a good idea to have a pre-application discussion with your Conservation Officer to see if consent is required. You will get an idea of what might be acceptable and find out whether ideas need to be changed to make them likely to succeed. Note that this process is now being made into a money making exercise by local authorities - they have realised that it can be called 'consultation' - and have introduced fees for providing their Conservation Officers as consultants. I think this is a move purely aimed at making money. First they charge you a fee for consulting on an application - then in some cases they knock it back. I'm waiting for the first of my clients to take a local authority to court on the basis that their consulting advice was wrong!
Unfortunately the Pre Application process which was designed to make things simple, and ensure that your application had the best chance of succeeding - is now being treated as a money making process by government and may cost you a lot of money - you might be better to employ specialist external consultants to vet and assist with the application.
In exceptional cases, grants are available from English Heritage for repairs to listed buildings. English Heritage grants are usually only available for Grade I or Grade II* listed buildings (although in London certain categories of Grade II listed buildings can be considered) but all applications are considered on their individual merits. Local authorities also have powers to give grants to owners of listed buildings - but there are virtually none on offer at the moment
Applying for Listed Building Consent
The process of Listed Building Consent is administered by your local authority planning department, and overseen by their Conservation Officer. Unfortunately the coalition Government have clearly demonstrated a lack of commitment to conservation, with the result that there are now nearly 75% fewer Conservation Officers than 5 years ago. The result: Its hard to get advice from them, they are swamped with work, and many people are opting to 'do the work and hope they dont see it'. Remember this - if you ask to see your local Conservation Officer, he or she is likely to be stressed, overworked, and underpaid!
To apply for listed building consent in the United Kingdom, you will need to follow the process outlined below:
Determine the Need for Consent: Assess whether the proposed works on the listed building require listed building consent. Remember that any alterations or changes that may affect the character or special interest of the listed building typically require consent. It's advisable to consult with your local planning authority or a heritage conservation professional to determine the specific requirements.
Gather Documentation: Prepare the necessary documentation to support your application. This typically includes:
Completed Application Form: Obtain the application form for listed building consent from your local planning authority's website or office. Fill out the form with accurate and detailed information about the proposed works.
Written Description: Provide a written description of the proposed works, explaining the purpose, extent, and materials to be used. Emphasize how the proposed changes will respect and preserve the historic and architectural character of the listed building.
Drawings and Plans: Include detailed drawings, plans, elevations, and sections to illustrate the existing and proposed conditions. These drawings should clearly show the nature and scale of the proposed alterations.
Design and Access Statement: For major developments or significant alterations, a Design and Access Statement may be required. This statement explains the design principles behind the proposal, justifies the need for the works, and demonstrates how the changes will preserve or enhance the listed building's character.
Consultation and Supporting Documents: Consider any additional supporting documents that may be required, such as Heritage Impact Assessments, archaeological reports, or specialist studies. Consultation with relevant parties, such as the local planning authority's conservation officer or heritage organizations, may also be necessary to ensure compliance with specific requirements.
Submit the Application: Submit the completed application form and supporting documentation to the local planning authority responsible for the area where the listed building is located. Pay the associated application fee, which varies depending on the scope of the proposed works.
Application Review: The local planning authority will review the application, consult with relevant parties, and assess the impact of the proposed works on the listed building's special interest. They may request additional information or clarification during the process.
Decision and Listed Building Consent: The local planning authority will ultimately make a decision on the application. If the application is approved, listed building consent will be granted, typically subject to certain conditions. If the application is refused, you may have the option to revise and resubmit the proposal or appeal the decision, depending on the circumstances.
It's important to engage with the local planning authority or consult a heritage conservation professional throughout the application process to ensure compliance with the specific requirements and to increase the chances of a successful outcome.
How long does it take?
Local authorities aim to return a decision on smaller schemes within eight weeks, allowing up to thirteen weeks for major proposals. This includes a statutory 21 day consultation period where neighbours, local amenity societies and interested relevant parties will be consulted. You should try to make a pre-application enquiry first, so you dont waste time applying and being knocked back.
If the application involves a Grade I or Grade II* listed building, demolition, or is particularly complicated, the case will be forwarded to English Heritage for expert advice. In London, certain categories of work to Grade II listed buildings. EH will return their advice to the local authority within 21 days or to an agreed timetable. This process can get complicated, so beware - you need to know the exact background and history of the property so you can help make relevant arguments about what constitutes 'relevant historic fabric'...
What happens if consent is refused?
If consent is refused you have six months in which you can appeal to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), or you can amend your plans, based on the written advice provided, and re-apply. Note that much of the advice you will be given is written in government legalese - which in many cases is virtually unintelligible. Again, you may need expert help to work out why they are refusing an application. A good consultant will understand planning law better than the Conservation Officer making the case, so you need to make sure you have all your guns loaded. Its a fact of life that with government cutbacks, most experienced and savvy CO's have taken early retirement, and there is a new breed of what I call Pretty Young Things, fresh out of college, with absolutely NO experience or knowledge of old buildings - making decisions about the place you live in. The only way to beat them is to know their job a lot better than they do.
What should I do if the work has already been completed?
We can produce a "retrospective" applicationn to remedy the problem with the Local Plannig Authority and liasise with them as if this were a new applocation to gain approval for the proposal and avoid any unneccessary enforcement action.
Case Study: :Listed Building Consent at 23/01284/LBC | Internal re-configuration and new timber framed windows and door. Installation of decking and pergola to rear (amended). | 2 Severn Street Shrewsbury Shropshire SY1 2JA
2 Severn Street is a Listed Building two-storey dwelling located within Castlefields, Shrewsbury. The property is a westerly most dwelling unit of the original mid-19th Century row of houses making up this very long Grade II listed building row, where theseform a flanking range to the former weaving factory and flax warehouse for the Grade Il listed Ditherington flax mill complex located to the north on Spring Gardens. The building row is quite prominent within the street scene given its positioning, length and attractive historic appearance, where this area comprises the Castlefields and Spring Gardens Special Character Area within the larger Shrewsbury Conservation Area. Each of the 16 units making up the original historic row feature small front garden amenity areas bounded in the main by low brick walls running along the highway which is characteristic of Severn Street and other streets within this neighbourhood.
Castlefields is a neighborhood located in Shrewsbury, a historic town in Shropshire, England. Castlefields is situated to the east of the town center, and its name refers to its proximity to Shrewsbury Castle.
Shrewsbury Castle, also known as Shrewsbury Fortress, was originally built in the 11th century by Roger de Montgomery, the first Earl of Shrewsbury. The castle played a significant role in the medieval history of Shrewsbury, serving as a defensive structure and a symbol of Norman authority in the region. Over the centuries, the castle underwent several modifications and additions. Today, while much of the castle has been demolished, some remnants remain, including the Great Hall and the Constable's Tower. The grounds surrounding the castle have been transformed into a park, known as The Quarry, which is a popular recreational area in Shrewsbury. Castlefields, the neighborhood adjacent to Shrewsbury Castle, has developed around the castle's historical site. It is primarily a residential area, with a mix of housing styles and amenities. The neighborhood offers a convenient location close to the town center and its various attractions.
Alterations and additions to Listed Buildings are acceptable in principle providing that they do not have a detrimental impact upon the architectural or historic character of the building, or its character and setting – therefore meeting the relevant policy requirements of Shropshire Core Strategy CS6 and CS17 and SAMDev Plan MD2 and MD13. In addition to local policies, Section 66 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, stated that Local Planning Authority’s should, in considering whether to grant listed building consent, have special regard to the desirability of preserving the building or its
setting or any features of special architectural or historic interest which it possesses. The proposals include internal re-configuration and new timber framed windows and door, installation of decking and pergola to rear. The proposals will not affect any existing wildlife habitation and do not affect or alter
surrounding buildings. No existing trees will be affected by these proposals and there is no
flood risk associated with these proposals. It is not deemed that the revised proposals will have a significant harm or impact on the character and setting of the fabric of the Grade ll Listed building. The proposals will not affect neighbouring properties in terms of aspect or increased overlooking and will not affect the adjacent properties in terms of overlooking or loss of amenity.
DEVELOPMENT IN CONSERVATION AREAS
In the United Kingdom, conservation areas are designated locations that are considered to have special architectural or historical significance. These areas are protected and preserved to maintain their unique character and ensure that any changes or developments within them are in line with their special qualities. Conservation areas play an essential role in safeguarding the country's cultural heritage and maintaining the visual appeal of certain neighborhoods or landscapes.
The process of designating a conservation area in the UK involves several steps. Local authorities, such as city or district councils, identify areas of special architectural or historic interest that could benefit from conservation area designation. These areas may contain historic buildings, landscapes, or a combination of both. Once an area is identified, the local authority undertakes a consultation process to gather input from various stakeholders, including residents, community groups, and heritage organizations. This ensures that different perspectives are considered in the decision-making process. A detailed assessment is conducted to evaluate the architectural and historic significance of the area. This assessment takes into account factors such as building styles, materials, historical context, and the overall character of the area. This information is documented in a conservation area appraisal or character statement. After the assessment is complete, the local authority formally designates the area as a conservation area through the adoption of a legal document known as a conservation area designation order. This order outlines the boundaries of the area and the specific characteristics that need protection. Once an area is designated as a conservation area, it becomes subject to stricter planning controls. These controls aim to preserve and enhance the area's special character. For instance, planning permission may be required for certain types of development or alterations to buildings within the conservation area. The local authority has the authority to enforce these controls. It's important to note that conservation area designations vary across different regions of the UK, as each local authority is responsible for their own designation process. Therefore, the specific details and procedures may differ slightly between areas. If you have a particular interest in a specific conservation area, it's advisable to consult the local authority or planning department for accurate and up-to-date information.
Conservation areas in the UK are subject to stricter planning controls to protect their architectural and historic significance. The specific planning restrictions can vary slightly between different conservation areas and local authorities, but here are some common planning restrictions that typically apply. Planning permission is usually required for the complete or substantial demolition of any building within a conservation area. This control is in place to prevent the loss of historically significant structures. Planning permission is often required for significant alterations to the external appearance of buildings within conservation areas. This can include changes to windows, doors, roofs, chimneys, or other visible elements. The aim is to ensure that any alterations are in harmony with the area's architectural character. Planning permission is generally required for extensions, new buildings, or changes in land use within conservation areas. The local authority will carefully consider the impact of proposed developments on the area's character, scale, and design quality. Trees within conservation areas often receive additional protection. Permission may be needed for tree pruning, removal, or even the planting of new trees. Landscaping changes and alterations to boundaries, such as walls and fences, may also require planning permission. Conservation areas often have stricter regulations on outdoor advertisements and signage. Planning permission may be necessary for the installation of new signage or changes to existing advertising displays.
Some permitted development rights, which allow certain minor works to be carried out without planning permission, may be restricted or removed in conservation areas. It's important to consult with the local planning authority to understand the specific permitted development rights applicable to a particular conservation area. It's worth noting that the precise planning restrictions and requirements can vary between different conservation areas and local authorities. Therefore, it's essential to consult the local planning authority or conservation officer for detailed and up-to-date information regarding the specific restrictions in a particular conservation area. They will be able to provide guidance on what activities require planning permission and help ensure that any proposed changes are in line with the conservation area's objectives.
When applying for planning permission in a conservation area in the UK, you typically need to provide the following:
Completed Application Form: You'll need to fill out the appropriate application form, which can be obtained from your local planning authority's website or office. The form will require details about the proposed development, such as the nature of the work, location, and any associated documents.
Written Description and Drawings: A written description of the proposed development is necessary. This description should explain the purpose of the development, its design, and how it will fit within the character of the conservation area. Detailed drawings, plans, elevations, and sections may also be required to illustrate the proposal accurately.
Site Location Plan: You'll need to include a site location plan that shows the proposed development in relation to the surrounding area. This plan should highlight the boundaries of the conservation area and indicate any nearby listed buildings or other significant features.
Design and Access Statement: A Design and Access Statement is typically required for major development proposals or significant alterations. This statement explains the design principles behind the proposal and demonstrates how the development will preserve or enhance the character of the conservation area.
Heritage Impact Assessment: For more substantial developments or alterations to listed buildings, a Heritage Impact Assessment may be necessary. This assessment evaluates the potential impact of the proposed development on the heritage assets within the conservation area and suggests mitigation measures if required.
Supporting Documents: Depending on the nature of the proposed development, you may need to provide additional supporting documents. These could include reports on ecological impacts, landscape assessments, or specialist studies related to the project.
It's crucial to consult with your local planning authority early in the planning process. They can provide specific guidance on the required documentation, application fees, and any additional information that may be necessary for a successful planning application in a conservation area. Engaging with the local conservation officer or seeking professional advice from a planning consultant or architect with experience in conservation areas can also be beneficial in preparing a comprehensive planning application.
Case Study: Installation of plant equipment with pipework at Granard House, Royal Marsden Hospital, 203 Fulham Road, LONDON - Application Reference PP/22/07719
The proposal seeks to install a liquid transfer plant with associated pipework behind a gated access point facing towards Fulham Road. The plant would be located next to the steps of the secondary gated access which would be modest in size and would be screened by the existing boundary wall and railings. The associated pipework would also be discreet as these would be screened by the low wall. All of the proposed development would be screened away from the listed buildings in the vicinity and would not attract any adverse public or private views from the streetscene and neighbouring properties. As such, the development is considered to preserve the character and appearance of the building and the conservation area, as well as the special interest of the listed buildings nearby.
The proposal would retain a good level of living conditions for the neighbouring properties and the occupiers on site as the development would result in no noise or odour impact for the neighbours. This development would also result in no land contamination issues for the occupants within and nearby the application site. In addition, the development would not be near any existing protected trees on site and would have no impact on trees andlandscaping.
Case Study 23/03357/FUL | Application under Section 73a of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 for loft conversion with dormers and single storey side and rear extensions (resubmission) | 27 Canon Street Shrewsbury Shropshire SY2 5HQ.
Application under Section 73a of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 for loft conversion with dormers and single storey side and rear extensions (resubmission) at the property known as 27 Canon Street.
27 Canon Street is a detached Victorian property within the Cherry Orchard Special Character Area of the Shrewsbury Conservation Area. The property is of red brick and slate construction and is covered by an Article 4(2) Direction along with the rest of Canon Street and the majority of Cherry Orchard. This removes permitted development rights for various forms of development including alterations to windows on elevations fronting a highway.
Alterations to residential properties are acceptable in principle providing they meet the relevant criteria of Shropshire Core Strategy Policy CS6: Sustainable Design and Development Principles. This policy states that development should be of high quality, appropriate in pattern and design taking account of local context and character, and should also safeguard residential and local amenity.
As the application site is within a designated Conservation Area, and covered by an Article 4(2) Direction, proposals also need to meet core strategy policy CS17 and SAMDev policies MD2 and MD13 in order to protect, enhance or restore Shropshire’s heritage assets and avoid harm to their significance and setting.
The National Planning Policy Framework requires proposals affecting heritage assets to have regard to any harm caused to their significance. Where a proposal would lead to less than substantial harm to the asset, this harm should be weighed against the public benefits of it, including securing its optimum viable use. The
NPPF also sets out that great weight should be given to the conservation of heritage assets including conservation areas.
The extensions would be sited at the rear of the dwelling, having no impact on the character and appearance of the street scene. SC Conservation raise no objection to the proposal. On the basis of the
above, the proposal is not considered to adversely impact visual amenities of the locality and would not result in harm to the character and appearance of the Conservation Area.
Amendments were,made to reduce the size of the previously L-shaped dormer and only include the box dormer on the rear roof slope, as recommended on the previous application. Although this feature is quite
large it is located to the rear roof slope and matching materials are proposed, therefore there is no concern with the rear dormer window in terms of its impact on the character and appearance on the area as it would not be highly visible from the street. On this basis, the application would comply with Core Strategy Policies CS6 and CS17, as well as SAMDev Policies MD2 and MD13.
The impact on residential amenity was considered acceptable as there are no habitable windows in the side
elevations of No 27 Canon Street. The extensions are single storey in nature and positioned to the rear of the dwelling. It is therefore considered that no harm will be caused to the neighbouring amenity and there will be no loss of light, privacy nor will they create an overbearing impact to the surrounding amenity. The proposed dormer to the rear elevation has been reduced and is now one projecting box dormer, rather than the previously L-shaped dormer as originally proposed. It is considered to be more sympathetic and has
addressed the previous imbalance where the original proposal was far more impactful. The materials are hanging slate that will match the existing roof tiles.
The works were judged to be in scale and character with the original building and of no demonstrable harm in terms of visual impact. No significant harm is considered to arise to the neighbouring resident’s amenity and the application therefore accords with the principal determining criteria of the relevant development plan policies including CS6 and MD2 and approval is recommended subject to conditions.
At EN-PLAN have extensive experience in dealing with historic properties and a comprehensive understanding of the special planning constraints affecting their development and use in a modern context. We provide specialist advice and act on behalf of clients nationally at every stage of projects, helping them to realise the true value of listed and conservation area buildings.
We ensure that the proposals, with our input, are economically viable and will respect and enhance the property's historic character. We also assist with projects which have a potential impact on the historic environment, providing innovative solutions to rescuing buildings and sites that are normally seen as liabilities for their owners. If you require assistance with a planning application or planning refusal, contact us for impartial advice and a fixed fee proposal please contact us.