for Listed Building Consent
is provided in England and Wales by the Town & Country Planning
Act 1990 and the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas)
Act 1990 (referred to here as the Listed Buildings Act). Elsewhere,
primary legislation is provided by the Town & Country Planning
(Scotland) Act 1997 the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation
Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997, and the Planning (Northern Ireland)
Order 1991. These set
out the legal requirements for the control of development and
alterations which affect listed buildings, and the framework by
which control is maintained. All
have been significantly amended in the last two or three years,
but those amendments do not greatly affect heritage issues. Important
guidance (for England) is contained in PPG15: Planning and the
Listed building consent is required for
any works to listed buildings which may affect their character
as buildings of special architectural or historic interest, including
partial or complete demolition, extension or alterations (internal
or external) of a listed building, or any object or structure
within or fixed to the exterior of a listed building or within
the curtilege of the building which, although not fixed to the
building, forms part of the property. Carrying out such works
without consent is an offence, punishable by a fine or term of
In terms of
the requirements for making the application, the legislation simply
'Such an application shall be made in such form as
the authority may require and shall contain:
(a) sufficient particulars
to identify the building to which it relates, including a plan
(b) such other plans and drawings as are necessary to describe
the works which are the subject of the application, and
other particulars as may be required by the authority.'
'B.3 Applications must be made in triplicate
on a form issued by the local authority. Section 10(2) of the
Act requires that they include sufficient particulars, including
a plan, to identify the building in question and such other plans
and drawings as are necessary to describe the works for which
consent is sought. For all but the simplest work this should normally
mean measured drawings of all floor plans and external or internal
elevations affected by the work proposed. There should
be two sets of such drawings showing the structure before work
and the altered structure or new development to replace it after
the proposed work. The inclusion of photographs can be particularly
helpful - of all elevations in demolition cases, or of the part
of the building affected (interior or exterior) in alteration
and extension cases. The Act empowers an authority to seek such
particulars as it requires and an authority should certainly seek
any particulars necessary to ensure that it has a full understanding
of the impact of a proposal on the character of the building in
question. An authority should not accept an application for consideration
until it has sufficient information to provide such understanding.'
This leaves the detailed requirements of the application very
much to the discretion of the local planning authority and the
direct consequence of this is that each authority has developed
its own unique application form. The forms
should be studied carefully as they can contain small but significant
variations in the information which is required and the way in
which it is to be presented. For example, one authority may ask
for a 'detailed' description of the work and another for a 'brief'
description. Despite the reference in PPG15 to an application
'in triplicate', the number of copies required by individual local
authorities varies from four to six, and possibly more widely.
Guidance notes to the application forms also vary widely in style
article is about the practicalities of completing an application
for listed building consent, the work undertaken in advance of
any application is the real key to its success or failure. No
application, no matter how well presented, will succeed if the
approach is fundamentally flawed. The higher the grade of the
building, the greater the need for preapplication consultation,
and the greater its scope. For a Grade I or Grade II* building,
this would typically involve the local authority, the statutory
heritage body (Cadw, English Heritage, or Historic Scotland) and
one or more of the statutory consultees (confirmed in Circular
09/05 as: the Ancient Monuments Society, the Council for British
Archaeology, the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings,
the Victorian Society, the Georgian Group, and the Twentieth Century
Society). At this stage it is far easier to resolve philosophical
and practical issues than to do so once an application has been
consent is required for any work which affects the special character
or interest of a listed building (for better or worse) so any
work proposed must be carefully considered in the context of the
building and of its history. Before developing any solutions to
a particular brief or problem, it is essential to understand the
building and what provides its character or special interest.
This will enable appropriate decisions to be made and justification
to be provided as part of the application.
The need for listed
building consent for repairs is a grey area. Strictly speaking,
'like for like' repairs do not require consent but there is no
precise definition and interpretations may vary. For example,
the insertion of a number of matching tiles to repair a roof slope
would normally be accepted as being 'like for like' but a proposal
to replace a window with one matching it in every respect of detail
and materials would usually require consent. A change of paint
colour might well be perceived as affecting the character of the
building, as might cleaning it. It is always important to establish
contact with the local authority's conservation officer and the
relevant statutory heritage body, and to discuss the proposals
in advance of an application, particularly where there is doubt
about whether particular work will require consent, or if the
proposals involve alterations or additions.
required in support of an application for listed building consent
is considerably more detailed than that which would be required
for a planning application, and sufficient time must be allowed
for this. If an application for planning permission is also required,
this would normally be submitted at the same time. Providing good
quality, accurate, scaled drawings is central to any application.
The drawing should show the building as existing and as proposed.
These should be separate drawings to enable the changes to be
clearly understood. The drawings should include plans, sections
and elevations as appropriate to the work. It is helpful to provide
photographs of the affected areas, clearly labelled to identify
the location and viewpoint.
Ideally, the information submitted
as part of an application for listed building consent would include
a full set of detailed drawings and a specification. In practice
this is seldom possible and the best guidance is simply to submit
as much as is feasible at the time that the application is made. It is often
the case that a specific area is identified as being of particular
sensitivity and that additional detail is provided about this
area alone at the time of the application. In the case of repairs,
the written specification of materials and workmanship assumes
a greater importance as there may be rather less drawn information.
More detailed drawings of specific elements, such as new joinery,
should ideally be provided as part of the application. If this
is not feasible at that point, provided that the remainder of
the application contains sufficient information, a condition is
likely to be attached to the consent requiring the submission
and approval of more detailed drawings prior to the commencement
Where historic fabric is concerned, it may be impossible
to determine the details of some elements of work until the scaffold
is erected, and opening up has been carried out, but provided
that this is acknowledged in the application and that the basic
approach is considered acceptable, further detail will be made
the subject of a condition attached to the consent. It is useful
to note general requirements, such as the presumption in favour
of retaining the maximum amount of original material, and that
new work and materials must match the existing in every respect.
(Autocad) drawings prepared by Thomas Ford & Partners showing
proposals for a new staircase at Fulham Palace, illustrating
the quality of information typically required for listed building
may now be made either by hard copy or electronically, via the
Planning Portal (see below). The documents required for a typical
'traditional' (non-electronic) application for listed building
A completed application form.
A site location plan, based on an ordnance survey plan, at
1:1,250 or 1:2,500 scale (this varies between authorities) showing
the site outlined in red and any other land owned or controlled
by the applicant outlined in blue.
A site plan at 1:500 or 1:200 showing site boundaries, roads
and trees (not all authorities state this as a specific requirement
and it is unlikely to be appropriate in all circumstances).
Plans and elevations at 1:100 or 1:50 (again, these may not
all be appropriate in all circumstances).
Detailed drawings at 1:20, or larger, for specific items
of work and detailing.
A certificate of ownership in accordance with Section 11
of the Listed Buildings Act. There are four certificates A-D,
covering a range of circumstances. Where the applicant is not
the building owner, notices must also be served.
A Design and Access Statement or Design Statement (as appropriate).
This should briefly set out the history of the building and
its historical development, the background to the proposals
which form the basis of the application, the reasoning behind
the proposals, how these fit into the context of the building
itself, and how they help to preserve the special character
of the building and to preserve the historic fabric, and why
the proposed intervention is justified.
Major building regulations or building services issues which affect
the fabric or appearance of the building should also be noted, together
with the measures taken to reduce their impact.
of the Planning Portal (www. planningportal.gov.uk) has introduced
a new set of standard forms for online applications. The application
is set out as a series of steps, which broadly reproduce those
Step 1. Complete
Applicant and agent details
Listed building and conservation area consent
Listed building and conservation area consent certificate
(the certificate is required under Section 11 of the Act)
Other application forms (an opportunity to add (electronically)
other forms, including a planning application).
Step 2. Attach required
Create site location plan (this links to other sites from
which a location plan can be purchased).
Add or remove attachments (drawings, photographs and documents
may be attached here electronically, or you can state that
they have been posted separately or that they are not provided.
Further guidance is given on requirements for electronic drawings,
such as the need for the original paper size and dimensions
or scale to be included).
Step 3. Final steps
Calculate fees (no fee is payable for an application for
listed building consent, although this appears not to be mentioned
in the guidance notes. Fees are payable in connection with
some of the other forms which can be added at Step 1, item
4).Check proposal (the Planning Portal software checks the proposal
and will not allow it to be submitted unless the necessary
forms have been completed).
Select payment method and submit proposal (once the forms
have been checked and payment has been made, either by cheque
or by telephone, the application is submitted to the local
authority. A confirmation
number and contact details will be returned, but the application
must still be validated by the local authority).
local authorities seem to be running the electronic system, and
its standardised forms, in parallel with their existing unique
forms for non-electronic applications. This is despite the sometimes
significant variations between the two. It is hoped that the standardised
form will eventually replace all of the existing forms. It is
presumably open to applicants to print off the standardised forms
and to use these for non-electronic applications. On the other
hand, some electronic applications have been lost in the system,
so it is important to retain copies of everything sent.
relating to listed places of worship in use as such is often the
cause of misunderstanding, most of it arising from the use of
the rather misleading term 'ecclesiastical exemption'. Although
it was at one time the case that many works to ecclesiastical
buildings were exempt from the need to obtain any form of consent,
this anomalous situation was addressed by the Ecclesiastical Exemption
(Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Order 1994. As a consequence,
no religious denomination is now 'exempt' from the need to obtain
some form of consent. However, some denominations are exempt from
the requirement to follow the 'secular' procedure under which
most listed buildings are dealt with because they have set up
an alternative means of control which satisfies the requirements
of the Order. Listed religious buildings therefore fall into two
Those belonging to denominations with approved alternative
regimes for dealing with such applications: the Church of
England, the Church in Wales, the Roman Catholic Church, the
Methodist Church, the Baptist Union of Great Britain, the
Baptist Union of Wales and the United Reformed Church. For
these denominations, applications for works to listed places
of worship are made directly to the church authorities.
All of the remainder follow exactly the same process
as for all other listed buildings, applications being made to
the relevant local authority as described
Each of the
denominations in Category 1 has its own unique procedure reflecting
its own internal structures. It is beyond the scope of this article
to set out the specific application details for each of the denominations.
However, the general form of the application, and the information
required, are very similar to those within the secular process.
The most notable difference relates directly to the reason that
the 'exemption' exists. Essentially, the existence of ecclesiastical
exemption recognises that listed religious buildings are a unique
building type, where a balance must be struck between the needs
of the building and the developing needs of its use. Indeed, the
architectural interest and variety of many great religious buildings
are a direct result of the many changes which have taken place,
throughout their history, to reflect changing religious practice.
As a consequence,
an application for any works to a listed church will normally
require a Statement of Need which will set out the religious or
pastoral reasons for which the work is being proposed, accompanied
by a Statement of Significance which is similar to the design
statement described above. Procedures normally incorporate the
need to consult with statutory consultees. It should be noted
that the Church of England's 'faculty jurisdiction' system, under
which approval is sought for works affecting listed churches,
also encompasses a requirement to seek approval for a wide range
of other matters, such as furnishings and works of art, and also
affects churches that are not listed. It should also be noted
that once a non-Anglican building ceases to be used as a place
of worship, secular controls apply.
- Charles Mynors,
Listed Buildings, Conservation Areas and Monuments, 4th edition,
Sweet & Maxwell, London, 2006
County Council Planning Section, Guide to Historic Buildings Law,
- English Historic
Towns Forum, Making Better Applications for Listed Building Consent, 2005
- The Department of
National Heritage and Cadw, The Ecclesiastical
Exemption Order: What it is and how it works, HMSO, London, 1994 (available free of charge)
article is reproduced from The Building Conservation Directory, 2007
Update, September 2012
Recently there have been several significant changes in UK government planning guidance and policy.
In England Planning Policy Guidance Note 15: Conservation of the Historic Environment (PPG15, 1994) and Planning Policy Guidance Note 16: Archaeology and Planning (PPG16, 1990) have been cancelled by the Government. Initially replaced by Planning Policy Statement 5 (PPS5) in March 2010, current policy guidance for England is now given in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) issued in March 2012. Further guidance is proposed, but in the meantime the guide which originally accompanied PPS5 remains in force - see PPS5 Historic Environment Planning Practice Guide.
In Scotland the principal statutory guidance on policy is now Scottish historic environment policy (SHEP), which was published in December 2011, with subsidiary guidance given in Historic Scotland’s Managing Change leaflets. These documents together replace the Memorandum of Guidance on Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas published in 1998.
BA (Hons) DipArch RIBA is a partner with Thomas Ford & Partners,
a practice specialising in historic buildings, ecclesiastical
buildings, museums and galleries. He is Cathedral Architect
to Birmingham Cathedral, Surveyor to the Fabric for Fulham
Palace, a member of London Diocesan Advisory Committee and
Architectural Advisor to the Southern Synod of the United
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