If you’re planning on buying and renovating a listed building, there are a number of pros and cons. Before committing your heard earned cash to your dream listed building as a home, it’s important to understand the differences types of listed buildings and what sort of flexibility you have when it comes to both the outside and the inside of the building.

For a Grade I listed building the constraints will be higher and harder to meet than a Grade II listed building.  For the former, you have to be sure that you’re sympathetic and the design reflects the period of the listed building.

Cellan Jones from Prime Architecture explains these differences in more detail in the video below:

Why Are Buildings Listed?

You can find out if you dream building is listed by looking at the listings in your local area at your local authority planning department. Alternatively, you can ring Cadw (the Welsh Government organisation responsible for listed buildings) on 0300 0256000. Buildings are given a listed status to mark their historical and architectural interest, and to protect them from damage and inappropriate alterations that may detract from their special interest. According to Welsh Heritage, “The older a building is, the more likely it is to be listed.” In general, buildings built before 1700 tend to be listed as are most of those constructed between 1700 and 1840.  If your building is less than 30 years old, it is unlikely to be listed.

Carrying out work without listed building consent is a criminal offence and the local authority may well insist that all work without consent is reversed. Although you can apply for listed building consent retrospectively, it may well be rejected and the work undone. In addition, a property to which unauthorised work has been carried out will be very hard to sell on.

Pros and cons of owning a listed building

On the positive side, owning a listed building means you will own an important part of history which is seen to add to the area and hold particular interest, which can increase the value of a building. In some instances, grants may be available for repairs and alterations to a listed building.

On the downside, carrying out alterations to the building, both inside and out, can be a little more complicated than on non-listed buildings, although by no means impossible.

You should also be aware that your if your local authority considers that the building is not being properly preserved, it can serve a ‘repairs notice’ under Section 115 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1971. If you don’t comply, it can make a compulsory purchase order.

What You Can and Can’t Do

There are no set rules here, as each building tends to be judged individually. When a building is listed, consent is required for work that will alter the external appearance, and also for works which will change it internally. Work usually requiring consent includes replacing windows and doors, removing internal walls and changing fireplaces.  An experienced architectural practice, like the team at Prime, can help with getting a consent order for your building by liaising with the local authority department responsible for listed buildings.

In most instances, minor, like-for-like repairs won’t require consent, whereas  major works probably will.

How Prime Architecture Can Help

We have worked with a number of clients planning to renovate listed buildings in both England and Wales.  We take on the responsibility of submitting application forms as well as holding pre-application consultation meetings with the statutory heritage bodies including English Heritage and Cadw.  In some instances, we also have to meet with statutory bodies like the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB).

In most circumstances, the local authority will let you know the outcome of your application within a couple of months.  If consent, is refused, we can also help to put forward an appeal which has to be done within a six-month period.

To find out more about Prime Architecture’s services, call us today on the number below:

Listed Buildings