What listing means
This guide sets out to advise you about listed buildings, which are buildings that are of special architectural or historic interest. It describes how and why buildings are listed, how this may affect you as an owner or occupier, and where to get further information and help.
The lists of buildings of special architectural or historic interest are just that: they are a register recording the best British buildings. They include a wide variety of structures, from castles and cathedrals to mills and milestones. Not all the items listed are what we might naturally think of as attractive: Some are included purely for their historical value. Some are not even what we would usually consider to be buildings, such as bridges, red telephone boxes and sundials. In effect, the lists add up to a heritage register, and they cover the whole country.
Why are buildings listed?
Because as a nation we want to identify and protect our heritage. Under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990| , the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport has a statutory duty to compile lists of buildings which are considered to be of special architectural or historic interest. In deciding whether or not a building should be listed, factors that cannot be considered are:
- the building's state of repair (unless this has harmed the architectural interest);
- costs of maintenance; or
- its unsuitability for modern needs.
How are buildings listed?
Lists of buildings of special architectural or historic interest have been prepared over many years. The most up to date survey took place in the 1980s. This was a nationwide exercise in which every part of the country was visited by architectural experts and an assessment made of all buildings. The survey results were edited into lists which identify those buildings that are of special architectural or historic interest and give a brief description of their appearance and features. In Calderdale the lists are largely up to date, although they are subject to revision by ongoing surveys from time to time.
Sometimes it is necessary to have individual buildings added to the lists, for example where new information about their importance comes to light. Proposals for 'Spot Listing', as this is called, are put to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and it is open to members of the public to suggest buildings. Sometimes 'spot listing' is preceded by a Building Preservation Notice, which is served by the Council where there is an immediate threat of demolition or alteration to an interesting building. This has the effect of protecting the building as if it were listed (for six months only). It will then be added to the list if it is eligible.
It is important to remember that buildings are not listed by the Council. It is up to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport to decide which buildings should be included on the statutory list.
Buildings are judged according to a set of national standards. These standards have been approved by the Government's professional advisors at English Heritage.
Buildings and structures of special interest come in a wide variety of forms and types. There are twenty broad categories into which to place them, ranging from Agriculture to the Utilities. Under these headings English Heritage have produced selection guides, including historical overviews and special considerations for listing, plus select bibliographies.
The buildings are classified in grades to show their relative importance as follows:
- grade I: These are buildings of exceptional interest (only about two percent of listed buildings are in this grade);
- grade II*: These are particularly important buildings of more than special interest (some four per cent of listed buildings);
- grade II: These are buildings of special interest, which warrant every effort made to preserve them.
Can I see the lists?
Yes, the statutory lists of buildings with descriptions and accompanying advisory maps relating to Calderdale can be inspected free of charge, either by using our online Search for listed buildings or at Planning Services reception during normal office hours (9am to 5pm Monday to Friday). A prior appointment is recommended.
What does 'listing' mean?
The law states that no person shall execute or cause to be executed any works for the demolition of a listed building, or for its alteration, or extension, in any manner which would affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest, unless the works are authorised by listed building consent from the Council before any works take place. It is up to the Council to decide if the works will affect the character of a building, so it is important to consult Planning Services before undertaking any works. All listed buildings are listed in their entirety, both inside and out; there is no such thing as just a listed facade or interior. All internal and external works which affect the character of the building therefore require listed building consent. It is an offence to carry out such works without prior permission and the penalties for this can be heavy. Works requiring consent include, for example, re-roofing, new doors and windows, re-pointing, most stone cleaning, as well as removal of chimneys, fireplaces and internal features.
How far does 'listing' extend?
The 'list' is a list of addresses and normally everything at the address is listed, including interiors and exteriors of buildings. In addition, any object or structure fixed to a listed building or within the curtilage of the listed building is included in the listing. If a listed building (or group of related buildings, one of which is listed) is subdivided, all the parts remain 'listed' even if they pass into separate ownerships. An example of this could be where a barn in the curtilage of a listed farmhouse is converted into a house and sold off separately from the farmhouse; it still remains listed.
Also, walls, gates, and outbuildings are subject to listed building control.
The list description is intended mainly for identification purposes. It does not provide a comprehensive or exclusive record of all the features of importance. If a particular feature is not mentioned either on the exterior or interior of the building, it does not indicate that it is not of importance or that it can be removed without consent.
Planning Services will be able to help you with any problems of identification or interpretation in particular cases.
How do I apply for listed building consent?
You must submit an application for 'Listed Building Consent for alterations, extension or demolition of a listed building' to the Council. It may also be necessary to apply for planning permission and it should be noted that certain of the Permitted Development provisions in the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order do not apply to Listed Buildings.
In most cases applications for both listed building consent and planning permission can be considered at the same time. The whole process takes about eight weeks (longer in the case of grade I and II* buildings, or where demolition is to take place), so it is a good idea to apply well before you want to do any works. The submission of clear and accurate information will help the Council process applications quickly and efficiently. Building Regulations approval may also be needed.
Generally, alterations should be sympathetic to the character of the listed building, using natural materials and traditional construction methods. The use of PVCu and other man made materials is generally unacceptable. There is also a presumption against the demolition of listed buildings. Planning Services will be able to advise you on Council policies on all these matters. See also guidance for works to traditional barns and farm buildings.
The fact that a building is listed does not necessarily mean that it must be preserved intact for all time, but does mean that the case for its preservation can be considered quite separately from the merits of any development proposals.
Can I get financial help for my listed building?
Yes, it is possible. Grants for the repair of buildings of outstanding architectural or historic interest (which usually means Grade I or II* buildings and occasionally others) may be available from English Heritage, but the application must be made before the work is commenced. In a few cases some other buildings may be eligible for grants from other sources, for example, the Heritage Lottery Fund| .
The Council's Retained Housing Service administers the Home Repair Assistance scheme. Those aged between eighteen and sixty may be eligible for grant assistance if they are in receipt of certain benefits. Those over sixty will usually be eligible. This scheme is intended for small scale works with assistance at the time of writing limited to £5,000 per application.
Some listed buildings enjoy a more favourable position as regards Value Added Tax (VAT) than do unlisted buildings. VAT zero-rating may be available for 'approved' alterations (that is alterations which both require and obtain listed building consent) to listed buildings which are dwellings or are used for qualifying residential purposes or for the non-business activities of a charity. Works of repair and maintenance and alterations not requiring listed building consent are standard rated. Remember, the relief depends on your using a VAT registered builder; there is no system of refund for VAT paid on materials or goods you purchase whether to 'do-it-yourself' or to be used by a labour only subcontractor. Further information may be obtained from HM Revenue and Customs: VAT| . Planning and Regeneration Services do not deal with VAT matters and all enquiries must be directed to HM Revenue and Customs.
Can I be made to maintain my listed building?
Yes. Listed buildings are part of our heritage and most owners are pleased and proud to maintain them. However, the Council does have the power to act if a listed building becomes dilapidated.
In general, you will find that there are four steps that can be taken if a building you own has fallen into disrepair:
- Planning Services will encourage you to preserve it and can offer advice on practical aspects, any consents that you might need for works and the availability of grants.
- If the property still remains neglected, the Council may serve a repairs notice on you specifying what work needs to be done.
- If you fail to comply with the notice the Council can compulsorily acquire the property as a last resort.
- In the case of unoccupied listed buildings, the Council may take another course. They can, if they wish, make arrangements to have urgent work carried out to make a building wind and weather proof, and can then recover the costs from the owner.
If you decide to purchase a dilapidated listed building, it is important to remember that it may be necessary to budget for repair work at the same time to ensure its future preservation.
Most owners are pleased that their properties have been listed and so recognised as part of our heritage. But some owners may be uncertain or apprehensive about what listing means for them. This page is designed for general information purposes only, it is not a statutory or legal document. If you have detailed questions about listing contact Planning Services or your own professional advisor.