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What permissions do I need?

I want to renovate a listed building; what permissions will I need?

On this page you will find a quick rundown of the various types of planning permission you may need to acquire if you own a listed building or reside in a conservation area. You can find more information on our Advice pages.

Before you consider commencing a project on a listed building, it’s vital to remember that planning permission is required to work on all kinds of buildings. If you are going to be working on a listed building, your project could require extra planning permission and, in the event that more than one type of planning permission is required, it’s best to apply for everything at the same time. Your local planning authority will then have the means to be able to assess the applications together, making it easier for them to make an informed decision.

Listed Building Consent is required for all work to a listed building which involves:

  • Alterations
  • Extensions
  • Demolition

Any work which is deemed to be at risk of affecting the character of a listed building (a building of architectural or historical significance) will require planning permission. Your local authority will be able to help you define what makes your home significant.

All types of work to be carried out on the listed part of a building require planning permission – specifically if its status as a listed building will be affected. If you wish to demolish your building, you will need Listed Building Consent.

Listed Building Consent

You should always check whether or not planning consent is required for whatever you plan to do. By outlining what may be acceptable and what adaptations may be needed to make the application more likely to succeed, you will likely save yourself a lot of both time and money.

When considering whether to grant or refuse an application, the planning authority will pay close attention to the need to preserve the building, its setting and the features which make it special. You should bear this in mind when preparing your application.

Carrying out unauthorised work on a listed building will likely lead to prosecution as it is a criminal offence. The planning authority may demand that all work completed without consent be reversed. You could have trouble selling a property which has not been granted Listed Building Consent for any works which have been carried out.

Who Do I Contact About Making Changes?

In the event that you start thinking about making changes to your home, you will most likely need to apply for planning permission. The organisation you need to contact changes depending on the circumstances of your project.

The local authority

Your local authority will have a planning department which is responsible for granting or denying planning permission, listed building consent, or conservation area consent. Always contact your local authority first when you decide to make changes to your home. They will be able to provide advice before and during the process of your application.

Local authorities consult Historic England on some planning, listed building and conservation area applications which usually relate to Grade I and Grade II listed buildings.

Conservation officer

Conservation officers are employed by most local authorities. They offer specialist advice on not only planning applications but also a range of other matters which are relevant to historic buildings and conservation areas. If you are the owner of an older home, your conservation officer is a good contact to have.

Your conservation officer is on hand to answer any queries you have on a range of subjects, including the likelihood of your planned project requiring additional consent. They will also be able to guide you through the types of work which would be most appropriate for your home and its surroundings.

When you begin planning work on your home, it’s wise to speak with the local planning authority at the earliest opportunity. You can reach your conservation officer by contacting your local council.

County archaeologist

Local planning authorities are advised by county archaeologists regarding the implications of property development tenders.

You should contact your county archaeologist at the earliest stage of the development of your proposal if you have any inkling that the work may affect the archaeology of your land. They will be able to discuss how any issues should be dealt with.

Useful contacts

If you are planning to make changes to your period or listed property, there are a number of societies which specialise in issues surrounding properties dating back to different periods. You may wish to contact them for guidance through a variety of issues.

The Ancient Monuments Society for advice regarding:

  • ancient monuments
  • historic buildings of all ages and types
  • identified examples of old craftsmanship

The Council for British Archaeology for assistance on:

  • historic buildings
  • subterranean and standing structures

The Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings to discuss buildings dating prior to 1700 and conservation.

The Georgian Group is concerned with architecture from 1700 to 1840.

The Victorian Society is involved in Victorian and Edwardian architecture dating from between 1840 and 1914.

Finally, the Twentieth Century Society specialises in architecture from 1914 onwards.