Listed Building Information
GUIDANCE NOTES FOR OWNERS OF LISTED BUILDINGS IN SOUTH GLOUCESTERSHIRE
This leaflet is one of a series of advisory notes produced by South Gloucestershire Council to support its Development Plan policies and supplementary planning guidelines for historic buildings. This leaflet gives general advice on the implications of owning a listed building.
The rich variety of architectural styles and materials found throughout South Gloucestershire help to establish a sense of place and local distinctiveness within the area that stretches from the Severn Estuary to the Cotswold Edge and south towards Bath. The listed buildings of South Gloucestershire range from cottages to country houses, barns to bothies, chapels to churches, follies to fountains, tombs to telephone kiosks, offices to obelisks.
What is a Listed Building?
It is a structure recognised by the Government as having special architectural or historic interest that merits protection and is included in the statutory list of such buildings. Any building or structure, over 30 years old, can be considered for listing. It may not necessarily be an architectural gem but may instead have important historical associations and links or be of particular technological importance. The listing will also include any object or structure fixed to the building and any object or structure within the curtilage which has formed part of the land since 1st July 1948. There are currently over 2100 of these
Why are buildings listed?
Buildings are listed in order to protect their special architectural or historic interest. They form part of England’s historic environment and therefore owners of listed buildings have a particular responsibility for a small part of the nation’s heritage. Any work that will affect the character or historic fabric of the building, i.e. alterations to the interior or exterior, demolition or extension requires listed building consent. It is a criminal offence to carry out works to a listed building without consent.
How do you find out if your building is listed?
When a building is listed the owners are notified in writing and the listing is entered upon the Local Land Charges Register. If you are unsure as to the listed status of the building, telephone the Environment & Conservation Section who can check the listing. A copy of the list description can be sent to you for your information.
The list description is used for identifying the building. It is not a complete description of the building or its fittings and features. Items omitted from the description are not exempt from protection under the legislation whilst those included on the description should not be considered to be the only protected features.
What does protection under listed building legislation mean?
There are three grades of listing:
Grade I - these are of ‘exceptional interest’ (3% of listed buildings in South Gloucestershire)
Grade II*- these are of ‘particular importance (5% of listed buildings in South Gloucestershire)
Grade II - these are of ‘special interest’ (92% of listed buildings in South Gloucestershire)
Which parts of the building are listed?
The listed building legislation protects the entire property including its setting. There is a misconception that only certain parts of the building are listed, however, the listing covers the front, back and sides, the roof, the interior, all additions and extensions regardless of age or design. Internal fixtures and fittings e.g. fireplaces, staircases, doors, kitchen dressers, lime plaster walls & ceilings are also protected. Other protected features include objects or structures attached to the building such as railings, carriage lamps, rainwater goods and garden or boundary walls.
What is the curtilage of the listed building?
Listing confers protection upon those buildings and structures that have formed part of the land since 1st July 1948 within the ‘curtilage’ of the listed building. Establishing the curtilage can often be difficult especially if various buildings are now in separate ownership. The principal tests relate to the physical layout of the land surrounding the listed building at the date of listing and the relationship of those structures and buildings to each other. Changes in ownership since listing do not affect the listing legislation. If you are unsure how far the curtilage extends, please contact the Environment & Conservation Section for advice.
What is a Locally Listed building?
These are buildings, which are of local (as opposed to national) architectural or historic interest. The buildings have no statutory protection but owners are encouraged to respect the character of the property when carrying out works of alteration. Policies within the local plan enable the Authority to resist the demolition of a locally listed building.
What works require listed building consent?
Any works of alteration, extension or demolition that may affect the character or historic fabric of the listed building require consent. It is an offence to carry out such works without authorisation. You may also require consent for works such as replastering, repointing, insertion or removal of internal partitions, uncovering fireplaces, altering windows and possibly even replacement of light fittings. It is therefore advisable to seek advice from the Environment & Conservation Section before carrying out any work to a listed building.
Consent is not normally required for repairs but in situations where those repairs necessitate alteration or demolition then consent would be necessary. Normal maintenance programmes or limited repairs carried out using traditional materials are unlikely to require formal consent.
Listed building consent may also be required for works affecting separate buildings and structures (curtilage listed buildings) within the grounds of the listed building.
Within the curtilage of a listed building you may also require Planning Permission for example, if you intend to erect, alter or demolish any form of enclosure, gate, wall or fence.
How do you apply for consent?
If you are considering carrying out works to a Listed Building the Environment & Conservation Section will always be pleased to give informal advice prior to the submission of a formal application. Consultation at this stage should save time and requests for further information. It is important that you the services of a good architect or agent that has experience and skill in dealing with historic properties.
Listed Building application forms are available from the Planning Department. There is a checklist attached to each application form that should be filled out and returned as part of your application. Applications will also require accurate drawings of the elevations and include large scale details of all proposed joinery, mouldings, doors, eaves, and verges. Photographs may also be necessary and always helpful. Proposed alterations should be supported by a written justification based upon architectural or historic analysis and submitted as part of the listed building application.
Once your agent has completed the application form it should be sent to the appropriate Council Offices where it will be registered and advertised both in the local press and on site. There is no fee for a listed building application. You may also require planning permission and in some cases the works will need to comply with existing building regulations. If the application includes elements of demolition then it will be necessary to inform English Heritage and allow them to record the building. Notification of all applications will be sent to various statutory organisations and amenity bodies such as SPAB, the Georgian Group, Victorian Society, CBA and those applications involving Grade I & II* listed buildings will also be sent to English Heritage for consideration.
What happens to neglected listed buildings or ‘Buildings at Risk’?
It is obvious that proper and regular maintenance of historic properties will help to prevent deterioration, which could result in major repair works. However, should a listed building fall into a state of disrepair or suffer as a result of neglect and vandalism it may be put on the ‘Register of Buildings at Risk’. The Council can serve an Urgent Works Notice on the owner specifying the minimum works necessary to make the building wind & weather-tight and secure. If those works are not carried out within an agreed period, the Council may implement the works and seek to recover the costs from the owner. In some cases the Council may serve a Repairs Notice which is more specific in terms of the repairs and may lead to a compulsory purchase order being issued. Should this be the case then the Council will acquire the property and have the option of selling it to someone committed to saving the building.
Is financial assistance available?
Grants can help protect our heritage of traditional historic properties and monuments by assisting with the costs of their repair and enhancement. South Gloucestershire Council seeks to encourage sympathetic restoration works that preserve architectural features and enhance the appearance of historic buildings. The grant recognises the additional cost that may be involved in restoring authentic architectural details, using traditional materials and employing appropriately qualified specialists and crafts people. Application forms and guidance leaflets are available from the Environment & Conservation Section.
Owners of buildings listed Grade I & II* or that are ‘at risk’ within Conservation Areas can also seek financial assistance from English Heritage for major schemes of repair.
Some alterations to listed dwellings are exempt from VAT provided that those alterations have listed building consent. A booklet is available from HM Customs & Excise.
Further advice on historic properties.
If you require advice or information of listed buildings within South Gloucestershire please call the Environment & Conservation Section on 01454 863464 or 863465.
This leaflet provides a basic level of guidance for owners of listed buildings. It is not a comprehensive document detailing all the implications of historic building legislation. The Environment & Conservation Section will be pleased to offer free advice on the legislation, design, materials and repairs. However, many jobs will require the skills of a qualified architect or surveyor.
Further advice leaflets on listed buildings are available from the Environment & Conservation Section, English Heritage or the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings.
Owners should be aware that it is a criminal offence to carry out works of alteration to a listed building without the benefit of consent or where works are not in accordance with any conditions of a consent. The Authority can prosecute the owner or person carrying out unauthorised works, in addition to any enforcement action that may be considered necessary to rectify the situation.
South Gloucestershire Local Plan Policy:
Central Government Policy:
The principal Act that relates to Historic Buildings and Conservation Areas is the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990. Government policies are also set out in Planning Policy Guidance Note: Planning and the Historic Environment (PPG15). This document fully explains the legislation and the implications of the law. Copies of both are available from HMSO.
Cambridge County Council Cambridgeshire Guide to Historic Buildings Law Cambridge County Council 1995
Mynors, C. Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas FT Law & Tax 1995
Leaflets and further guidance is available from various organisations such as English Heritage, the Georgian Group, Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB), Twentieth Century Society, Victorian Society
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