This advice on Listed Buildings explains what a Listed Building is, and what the procedures and regulations are regarding works to Listed Buildings.
Buildings are ‘listed’ because they are considered to be important to the national heritage. In addition, they often have a more local importance, either historically or aesthetically, which is of value to the community as a whole.
What is a Listed Building?
A Listed Building is a structure which is recognised for its special architectural or historic interest and is consequently included on the Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. Listing provides a system of control to prevent indiscriminate demolition and to avoid irreparable damage to historic buildings caused by poorly executed alterations and extensions.
This protection covers the interior as well as the exterior and includes any object or structure which has been in the curtilage or formed part of the land associated with the Listed Building since before 1948 (such as walls, outbuildings and some surface treatments such as setts or cobbles for example).
Listed Buildings are a fundamental part of the character of our towns and villages
Which buildings are listed?
The Department of Culture, Media and Sport holds overall responsibility for the Listing of Buildings. The designation of Listed Buildings is carried out by English Heritage. The principles of selection for the Lists cover five main groups:
All buildings prior to 1700 which survive in anything like their original condition.
Most buildings dating between 1700 and 1840.
Buildings of definite quality and character dating between 1840 and 1914. Selection includes principal works by principal architects, or examples of building innovation.
Selected buildings of high quality between 1914 and 1939.
A few outstanding buildings post-1939.
How are Listed Buildings graded?
There are three grades of Listed Building:
Grade I - Buildings of exceptional interest such as very fine country houses, important or old churches.
Grade II* - Particularly important buildings of more than special interest such as most country houses, important churches or very old secular buildings.
Grade II – These are buildings of special interest, which warrant every effort being made to preserve them. 96% of listed buildings are Grade II.
Can additional buildings be Listed?
Yes. Sometimes the special character of a building has been overlooked and it is not included on the List. If this is the case anyone can request that a building be considered for Spot Listing.
How do I find out if a building is Listed?
When a building was originally included on the List, the owner would have been notified by the Council. If you have purchased a building after it was Listed, then your solicitors’ land search should have identified the Listing.
In any case, whether you own a Listed Building or whether you are merely interested in its status, you can view The Somerset Historic Environment Record website to see Listings for Listed Buildings and Ancient Monuments.