Listed buildings can be particularly complex, being protected by their own special legislation. A common misconception is that only the front of a listed building is protected through listing. It is the case that almost every building listed prior to 2010 is listed in entirety, internal, external and all features within, as well as features fixed to the building, such as garden walls or insurance plaques, for example, and related structures may also be protected as curtilage.
Listed Building Consent is required for many types of work including internal and external alterations, and even some repairs. Obtaining consents is not always easy. Local planning authorities can and do refuse to validate applications or engage in discussions about proposed works to a listed building unless they are provided with an expert assessment of significance (also sometimes known as heritage statements and statements of significance) of a listed building.
Expert assessment of your listed building will assist in understanding any potential there may be for change, such as alterations (internal and external), extensions, conversion and changes of use. Combining an expert eye to inspect your listed building and its features with research results in a full understanding of what is, and just as importantly, what is not of significance. Producing an assessment of the building’s significance is of key importance and the starting point for designing appropriate solutions for your listed building and is the key to meaningful discussion with your local planning authority.
DEVELOPMENT IN CONSERVATION AREAS & HERITAGE SETTINGS
Obtaining planning permission in or close to a conservation area or the setting of a listed building or scheduled monument may not always be straightforward. Local planning authorities can require an assessment of significance (also known as heritage statements and statements of significance) before they validate or progress your planning application. If your site affects a highly graded listed building or the setting of a scheduled monument, Historic England may also be consulted on the application.
Expert assessment of your site will assist in understanding the constraints and opportunities for development and will, in turn, inform design proposals that respond positively to sensitive heritage settings. An expert assessment of the significance of your site forms a sound basis for negotiating with local planning authorities about your proposed development and can save time and money on refused applications.
NON-DESIGNATED HERITAGE ASSETS
Non-designated heritage assets are other buildings and sites that may also have some level of archaeological, architectural, artistic or historic interest and at local or national level. Planning Authorities can require heritage statements to be submitted with planning applications. If consent is granted for demolition or conversion, or before major works of alteration to a listed building, a detailed historic building record is often required prior to commencement of any works on-site through a condition on the planning consent.
Historic Building Records are required as a way of preserving a building by having a detailed record of it, and once the record is approved, this is stored on a publicly available record known as the Heritage Environment Record (HER). Criterion for what a historic building recording must include differs slightly but mostly, will conform to, or are based on Historic England guidance. These can be very detailed documents. Good advice is to arrange for a historic building record sooner rather than later. Planning conditions can take up to eight weeks to legally discharge.