Carl Heywood, Partner at Spire Solicitors Attleborough office, answers some important questions on Listed Buildings.
- What is a listed building?
A listed building is a building of special architectural or historic interest. They can be graded in terms of quality I, II* or II. If a building falls into one of these categories the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 controls the use and alteration of the property and tighter controls are exercised over development.
- Who can apply to have a building listed?
Anyone can apply to English Heritage for a building to be listed who will in turn consider all applications and make recommendations to the Secretary of State as to whether or not to add a particular building to the statutory list.
- How will I know if my property is listed?
The designation is recorded as a Local Land Charge in the Local Authority Official Search which is one of the common searches undertaken by a solicitor when acting in connection with the purchase of a property.
- What is listed building consent?
Listed building consent is required from the local planning authority in order to demolish a listed building or any part of it or to alter it in such a way that would affect its character whether this be internal or external.
- Where should I apply for listed building consent?
In the majority of cases you should apply to the local authority however the most important cases are referred to English Heritage and on occasion to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.
- What are the consequences of carrying out alterations to a listed building without listed building consent?
Carrying out work to a listed building is a criminal offence punishable by a fine or a prison sentence. The local authority can also insist that the building be restored to its former state. The local authority can enforce past breaches at any time and regardless of the fact that breach took place under a previous owner. It is therefore of paramount importance to have a thorough survey undertaken at the time of your purchase.