Listed buildings

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3. Listed building consent

Applications should be made for Listed Building Consent. These are available on our apply for planning permission page or from our offices.  

It may assist and save time if you discuss any proposed works to a listed building with the conservation officer before submitting an application for listed building consent.  It is recommended that pre-application discussions are held at an early stage in the process as this will assist in the processing of your application.  Amendments made after the application is submitted can result in delays.

How long a listed building consent application takes

We should issue a decision on Listed Building Consent applications within 8 weeks from the receipt of a valid application. We endeavour to deal with all applications within this period, although this is not always possible.  If a decision is not issued within 8 weeks, there is a right to appeal to the Secretary of State against non-determination.

For applications affecting Grade I or II* buildings, we must notify the Government Office for the South West (GOSW) where it intends to grant consent.  This usually adds a further 28 days to the process, although the Secretary of State can indicate that they wish to extend this period.  If the period is extended, there is no time limit.  The Council can refuse an application in these categories without referral to the GOSW.

To avoid frustration over time delays, projects should be properly planned allowing for the entire process, including preliminary survey works and any conditions that may need to be discharged.  It is worth compiling a comprehensive package of works to avoid successive applications.

Application fees

There is no fee payable for making a listed building consent application.  There is however a hidden cost in the level of drawn detail and supporting information required with an application, which in the majority of cases means engaging the services of a registered architect or chartered building surveyor. For particularly historic or complex buildings this may also include a historic buildings specialist. Certain works, such as extending a listed property, may also require planning permission. A fee is payable on application for planning permission.

Receiving listed building consent

Any works granted listed building consent must normally begin within 3 years from the date of the consent.  Consent may be issued with conditions attached, such as approval of sample materials before development commences.  Any conditions attached to the consent must be addressed, and care should be taken to ensure that builders are working from, and in accordance with, approved drawings. We will monitor the works to ensure that they are undertaken in accordance with the approved details. We may require that works not carried out in accordance with the approved plans be removed.

It is important to ensure that your plans are carefully thought through. There is no provision in law for minor amendments to approved plans. If you subsequently wish to alter your proposals you will be required to submit a revised listed building application.

Refusal of listed building consent

If consent is refused, or granted subject to conditions which are considered unacceptable, an appeal may be made to the Planning Inspectorate.  Appeals must be made within six months of the date of decision.  Full details of this process are supplied with Decision Notices.

Unauthorised works

Any person who carries out, or causes to be carried out, any works to a listed building without listed building consent, where such works affect the character of the building as a building of special architectural or historic interest will, on conviction, be guilty of a criminal offence.

Proceedings can be taken for the offence which can result in a fine of up to £10,000 and/or imprisonment.  Enforcement action may be taken to restore the building to its original state or comply with conditions attached to the terms of any listed building consent.  There is no time limit from taking listed building enforcement action.

Failure to obtain consent often comes to light during the sale of a property and may make the building difficult to sell until unauthorised works are remedied.  If you buy a property with unauthorised works, you become liable for any listed building enforcement action in connection with the unauthorised works.

Other consent that may be required

This guidance has been produced to assist owners and prospective owners of listed buildings. Works to a listed building may also require permission/consents covered by other legislation such as building regulations.