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Listed Building Consent

If you wish to demolish a listed building, or alter or extend it in a way that affects its character or appearance as a building of special architectural or historic interest, you must first apply for listed building consent from your local planning authority.

View of Cannon's Farm Barn in midst of a programme of repair and renovation.

Cannons Farm Barn, Pinner (Harrow), listed grade II.
© LB Harrow

How to Apply for Listed Building Consent

Listed Building Consent is administered by your local authority.

You can download an application form from your local authority's website. Advice and guidance can also be obtained by visiting the government's Planning Portal website. There is no fee.

How Long Does It Take?

Local authorities aim to return a decision on smaller schemes within eight weeks, allowing up to 13 weeks for major proposals. This includes a statutory 21 day consultation period where neighbours, amenity societies and other interested and relevant parties will be consulted.

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. This is also the case for certain categories of work to Grade II listed buildings. We return our advice to the local authority within 21 days or to an agreed timetable.

What Can or Can't Be Done?

Speak to your local authority Conservation Officer to check that you do need to make an application for Listed Building Consent.

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 those features which make it special. Therefore consideration should also be given to these things when planning proposed changes.

Listed status covers a whole building, inside and out. Common works requiring consent might include the replacement of windows or doors, knocking down internal walls, painting over brickwork or altering fireplaces.

Our Charter for Advisory Services gives advice on what to provide with an application for consent.

Pre-Application Discussions

We strongly recommend that you have pre-application discussions with the local authority Conservation Officer in order to check if consent is required, to get an outline of what might be acceptable and find out whether ideas need to be adapted to make them more likely to succeed.

This simple step could save a lot of time and money.

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.

What Happens If Consent Is Refused?

If consent is refused you have six months in which to 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.

What Happens If Work Is Done Without Consent?

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 undertaken.

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