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Listed Buildings : Some Interesting Facts

When it comes to listed buildings, there is lots of speculation as to how these buildings are chosen, what the selection methods are and what the different grades of listed buildings are. This article explores all of these topics, giving you a simplified look at how everything works.

A listed building is acknowledged by the government to be of special architectural or historic interest.

In the context of listing, the term ‘building’ is used very widely and  includes not only buildings such as houses, churches, schools and  barns, but also walls, tomb stones, milestones, ice houses, bridges  and locks, telephone and post boxes.

The responsibility for deciding which buildings have special architectural or historic interest falls to the planning department within the local council of that area.  Your local council has a statutory duty to produce a “list” of such buildings.

Once listed, a building has special protection under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 and enjoys   additional powers of protection. Extra responsibilities are also imposed on owners, for example, the need to obtain listed building consent for certain works. It is an offence to carry out works to a listed building without consent.

When is a Building Worthy of Listing?

In brief, the following are normally listed: all buildings built before 1700 which survive in anything like their original condition.

Most buildings of about 1700 to 1840, although some selection is necessary.

Between 1840 and 1914 greater selection is necessary. Only buildings of definite quality and character are listed.

To identify the best examples of particular building types, between 1914 and 1939, selected buildings of high quality only are listed.

Buildings less than 30 years old are normally only listed if they are of outstanding quality and under threat.

Buildings less than 10 years old are not listed.

How Are They Chosen?

Buildings are listed for their architectural interest, technological innovation, historic interest or association.

Listed buildings are allocated one of three grades: Grade I, II or II in England/Wales and Category A, B and C in Scotland

While the grading is taken as an indicator of the relative importance of the building, it has nothing to do with the legal requirements that apply to it.

The broad classification of Grades is:

Grade I/ Category A – Buildings of national or international importance, either architectural or historic, or fine little-altered examples of some particular period, style or building type.

(About 2% in England/Wales and 8% in Scotland of listed buildings fall within this category).

Grade II/Category B – Buildings of regional or more than local importance, or major examples of some particular period, style or building type which may have been altered

(About 4% in England/Wales and 51% in Scotland of listed buildings fall within this category).

Grade II/Category C – Buildings of local importance, lesser examples of any period, style, or building type, as originally constructed or moderately altered; and simple traditional buildings which group well with others in categories A and B.

(About 94% in England/Wales and 41% in Scotland of listed buildings fall within this category).

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