10. My home is a Listed Building
Buildings of particular architectural or historic interest are often officially ‘listed’ and thereby protected from inappropriate alterations. Many residential buildings are Grade II listed, far fewer Grade II* or Grade I. It is extremely important to preserve buildings of interest, however owning one brings with it certain obligations and greater restrictions on changes that are allowed to be made. Listing is not a preservation order preventing any alterations, it simply means that an additional level of consent – listed building consent – is required to ensure that the special aspects of the building are considered.
A listed building consent application is similar to a planning application and will usually be made at the same time, however, it will be reviewed by specialist conservation officers (and possibly English Heritage) and you will receive a separate approval notice. There is no fee attached to a listed building consent application.
It is important to remember that unlike planning law (which is common law) listed buildings are subject to criminal law – do not consider making alterations without professional advice.
There are a few common misconceptions around listed buildings, for instance:
• Grants are available to help pay for work. Grants do occasionally exist, usually around specific area initiatives, however generally you are very unlikely to get a grant, and almost never with a Grade II building.
• Approved alterations to listed buildings qualify for zero rated VAT. Before October 2012 this was true, but sadly no more.
• Only part of the building is listed. Not true. If a building is listed, all of it, including non-original extensions or alterations, is listed. This can include outbuildings and boundary walls within the curtilage.
• It is impossible to gain consent for changes. This is certainly not the case and we have many examples of successful applications for changes to listed buildings. There is also no law against additions being different or contemporary in style as long as they are sympathetic and respectful to the original building.
studioCASS has many years’ experience dealing with listed buildings and consents and Richard Roberts is listed on the RIBA Conservation Register. We can advise you how to make a properly considered and appropriate design proposal and application to obtain the full potential from your listed property.