What is Listed Building Consent?
This is intended to be a simplified bare bones introduction about Listed Building Consent, why you may need it and how we can help you obtain it. I will be doing a series of posts over the next month about various consents and how they may effect your planned alterations or new builds. This week we start with what we deal with the most, listed buildings.
As most of you are aware there are listed buildings and non listed buildings. Listed buildings are buildings which have deemed significant or special enough to warrent an extra layer of protection. This applies when it comes to alterations, repairs and demolition. This protection is graded by importance;
GRADE I (most significant)
GRADE II (least significant)
Some people will often quote that Grade II listed buildings only require permission to alter the exterior, or anything which is specifically noted in the listing. This is incorrect and all listed buildings regardless of grade require an application to be submitted for prior approval, for any alteration. It should also be noted that any structure within the boundary of said building at the date it was listed (or pre dating 1948), will be automatically "curtilage listed" meaning an application would be required to alter within the grounds.
Listed Building Consent
Listed building consent is required for all works affecting the "special character", this is quite an open statement and quite difficult to determine. Some urgent (imminent danger) like for like repairs may be possible under a repair notice, but even these may effect buildings essence and the local authorities should be notified to receive this notice. Given the consequences of enforcement, we would always encourage one to err on the side of caution and not go down the retrospective route.
To legally alter a listed building you will have to gain Listed Building Consent. This is submitted to your local authority which is assessed by a specialist Historic Buildings Officer. They will advise the Case Officer (Planner) on any special concerns or conditions they deem fit. A Listed Building Consent application does not have a fee payable to the local authority unlike a standard planning application, but often an application for planning approval and listed building consent are made at the same time.
The Listed Building Consent Application should be determined within an 8 week time frame, but sometimes it will overrun if particularly complex or important. If a building is grade I or 2* listed it will be sent to The Historic England case officer for the region and The National Amenities Society.
Unlike breaches of planning permission which is a civil matter, breeches of Listed Building Consent is a criminal matter which can ultimately result in prison sentences up to two years and unlimited fines. This applies to not only those carrying out the work (builder) but those who instruct the work (owner) and takes into account any profits or financial gains made on the building or their action's. It is not a defence to plead ignorance and the requirement for listed building consent falls on the current owner, even if alterations have been made by others in the past. Repair notices may be served, but we will cover that in the next blog post covering repairs.
Now that the scary bit is out of the way a Listed Building Application creates a record of your building and a greater understanding not only for yourself but for local records and your future generations. As we are all only custodians of these fantastic buildings which most will outlive us, it is nice to create a Snapshot for future generations to understand. Not only that but when we carry out an application we may pick up on other small items which may have potential to harm the building which you may not have noticed,or discover something quite special hidden within.
How can we help?
A Listed Building Consent Application should look at a building in much more detail than a standard planning application. It is important to understand the history and significance of the building and assess how the proposed scheme or repairs is going to impact the buildings significance, the surrounding environment, the historic fabric and the overall aesthetic.
To produce a quality application one must be able to understand all of the above and weigh up the positive and sometimes negative impacts an application may have on a building and justify this going forward. We at Montez Architecture are vastly experienced in this field and write a bespoke booklet on each Listed Building Consent Application. We always strive to present beautiful drawings and well presented documents to show how we have understood the building and how we have come to our conclusions. This is always well received by the Local Authorities and our clients and gives strong weight to your application.
We have a comprehensive understanding of materials and repair techniques, both new and old and how that may interact and impact your historic building. Some modern materials are incompatible with the historic fabric and much damage in last 40 years and sometimes as little as 10 years with sensitive materials such as timber.
Our good working relationships with many of the surrounding local authorities stand us in good stead and we try to be honest and open on what we believe is achievable within the confines of the project from the offset. We strive to create clear drawings which in our opinion should be good enough to hang on the wall, our reports are concise with as much pride going into their presentation as our drawings, which all goes hand in hand to provide the strongest application possible to help gain you Listed Building Consent.
We should all be taking pride in our heritage, those unique buildings which make our environment that little bit more enjoyable. The application of Listed Building Consent should not be a battle, and as long as the application is reasonable, well researched and the impacts to the building understood, we see no reason why you should not gain permission. As long as the positives to the building can be shown to outweigh the negatives in a considered approach without going too wild, applications should be smooth, sometimes this is not always the case and in the odd circumstance where this is the case, we have the knowledge and experience to battle for what we believe is right for the building.
Ultimately we are all working together to do the very best for your listed building, so feel free to call and discuss your project, we bring a lot of knowledge to the table and we are probably much more affordable than you think!
The next instalment will look at how to go about repairs and legal obligations as a listed building owner.
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