Works to listed buildings (listed buildings consent)

When is listed building consent required?

Listed buildings are sensitive to alterations as these can affect their special character and appearance, as well as the way their historic fabric functions. Listed building consent is required for all changes to a listed building that affect its character, in addition to any planning permission that may be required.

Regular maintenance and repairs that are like-for-like in design, material and finish would not require listed building consent, provided they do not affect the building's special interest.

Likewise, replacing modern fittings such as kitchen and bathroom suites, redecorating or other minor internal alterations would not require listed building consent, provided they do not affect features that contribute to the building's special interest.

It is not possible to provide an exhaustive list of all works that require listed building consent, however examples of the type of works that will require listed building consent include:

  • extensions changing the overall size, shape and access to a building
  • alterations - external and internal that affect layout of rooms, walls, chimney (breasts/stacks), partitions and stairs
  • alterations that remove, replace or cover historic decoration, fixtures or fittings, including wall panelling, plasterwork, balustrades, sculpture, skirting, dado rails, picture rails, fireplaces, flooring, lighting and other domestic utilities
  • replacement windows
  • introduction of new insulation to floors, walls and ceilings
  • new heating and ventilation systems
  • cleaning of external masonry, cleaning should be undertaken carefully, if at all, as it can be extremely damaging, and can cause erosion that will escalate the decay of historic fabrics
  • re-pointing
  • painting of exterior and interior, where it affects historic surfaces
  • alterations to extent, design and appearance of all boundary walls
  • any of the above alterations to other buildings and structures within the curtilage of the listed building

Listed building consent is also required for the following:

  • total or partial demolition of a listed building
  • change of use of a listed building where this requires any physical alterations

If you are in doubt as to whether works require listed building consent, please contact Technical Services on 0161 779 6195. This is important as undertaking works without listed building consent is a criminal offence.

Applications for listed building consent

There is no fee for a listed building consent application and you can apply online at the Planning Portal.

Applications for listed building consent must be accompanied by a heritage assessment. For more information on heritage assessments please visit the council's assessing impact on heritage assets page.

Some parts of listed buildings may be more important than others, and as such a full understanding and appreciation of a building's history, development and details is essential to ensure successful maintenance and alteration.

In considering whether to grant or to refuse an application the city council must have regard to the desirability of preserving the building, its setting and those features which make it special, and so consideration should be given to these things when planning proposed changes.

All list entries include a description of the building. This description is intended principally to aid identification and while it will include mention of those features which led English Heritage to recommend listing.

It is not intended to provide a comprehensive or exclusive record of all the features of importance, and the amount of information given in descriptions varies considerably. Absence of a reference to a feature does not, therefore, indicate that it is not of interest or that it can be removed or altered without consent.

General advice on carrying out works to listed buildings

When carrying out works to listed buildings as far as possible you should:

  • repair rather than replace the original fabric or features of the building, particularly if they contribute to the character and appearance of the building
  • if it is necessary to replace features, use traditional materials and follow original designs
  • match existing materials like-for-like in terms of colour, texture and strength
  • avoid the use of unsympathetic modern materials and components which look out of place and may harm the fabric of the building
  • design internal alterations so that they are in keeping with the character of the building
  • ensure that additions, alterations or repairs are capable of being reversed
  • keep alterations to a minimum

For more specific advice on making changes to a historic property, such as altering windows or doors, please visit English Heritage's information on common works to older houses.

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