top of page


The Department for Culture, Media, and Sports (DCMS) is the designating body of listed buildings. Listed Buildings are defined by the DCMS as buildings of ‘special architectural or historical interest’. In addition to standard buildings, structures such as bridges, milestones, walls, and telephone boxes can be listed. If a building is listed the grade can be found online at Historic England’s Listings website.

Those who own or carry out work on a listed building must be especially careful not to adversely impact the integrity of the building. This means there are strict controls on both internal and external alterations to the building, as well as work on certain outbuildings, which cannot be performed without listed building consent from the local council. If work is carried out without the relevant consent you may be subject to a substantial fine or even imprisoned. For this reason you must always consult your local authority before carrying out work on a listed building or in a conservation area.

Legal Requirements

Listed buildings must always be kept wind and watertight, structurally sound, and in a reasonable state of repair. If a listed building is neglected by its owner, Section 48 of the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990 permits the council to serve a ‘Repairs Notice’ on the owner outlining the work required to rectify it. If the owner does not apply within a specified time scale, the council can compulsorily acquire the building. If a listed building is either unoccupied or partially occupied, Section 54 of the 1990 Act also allows the council to serve an ‘Urgent Works Notice’ to carry out work on a building and look to recoup costs from the building’s owner.

Historic England

If you are looking to change a historic environment, Historic England offers a range of services to support you. Historic England is a body responsible for giving advice on ancient monuments, listed buildings, and conservation areas in England, and they must be consulted by the council about some applications relating to these.

If you are unsure how to receive advice from Historic England their Charter for Advisory Services explains how they handle requests for pre- and post- application planning advice. While Historic England can offer assistance, the local conservation officer at your local council is best placed to offer you advice on any proposal concerning a listed building or conservation area and should be your first point of contact.

The legislation surrounding listed buildings is the same no matter what grading the building received. Listed Buildings are categorised into three grades:

  • Grade I: are deemed to be of exceptional interest. Examples of Grade I listed buildings include castles, churches, and large country houses.

  • Grade II: the most common grade with 86% of listed buildings falling into this category. These buildings are deemed to be of special interest.

  • Grade II*: is awarded to Grade II buildings with some additional merit i.e. a unique interior, that are not exceptional enough to warrant a Grade I listing.

How can we help?

Arkhi has a proven track record designing with listed buildings from residential to hospitality sectors. If you would like to find out more or discuss your project with one of the Arkhi team, get in touch on 01260 540170 or drop us an email at


Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page