What is a listed building?

A building is listed when it is of special architectural or historic interest considered to be of national importance and therefore worth protecting.

If a building is listed, consent must be obtained for its demolition or alteration or an extension in any manner which would affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest (Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990).

How do buildings become listed?

Buildings which might be listed are identified by English Heritage surveys or put forward by individual request. English Heritage assess a site based on the Principles of Selection for Listed Buildings. They then make a recommendation whether to add, remove or amend listings to the Secretary of State (for DCMS), who make the final decision.

We are responsible for planning policy and decision making at a local level - they do not have the power to list or de-list buildings.

Further information into the process and general principles for listing buildings can be found on the Historic England website.

How do I know if my building is listed? 

Is your home/building listed? - search the Historic England website.

What is curtilage listing?

The term ‘curtilage’ covers land and buildings or structures (for example, boundary walls, railings and outhouses) which are part and parcel of the land comprised with a building, and are therefore subject to listed building control. Something is ‘curtilage listed’ if:

  • it forms part of the land
  • has been part of the land since before 1 July 1948
  • is ancillary to the listed building

List entries made or amended since 26 June 2013 may expressly exclude some curtilage buildings from protection.

Why are there different Grades?

The Grades of listing (I, II* and II) give a broad indication of the level of special interest of the building, although there is no difference in their level of legal protection.

  • Grade I are buildings of exceptional interest (nationally about two per cent of listed buildings)
  • Grade II* are particularly important buildings of more than special interest (about four per  cent of listed buildings)
  • Grade II are buildings of special interest, which warrant every effort being made to preserve them (94 per cent of listed buildings)

A number of listed buildings are open as part of the Heritage Open Days Scheme. More details about this scheme, which allows the public to visit buildings not normally open to them, is available from Heritage open days