A listed building is a building of special architectural or historic interest that has been identified for protection through legislation. Listing is the process by which buildings are added to the statutory list by the Designations Team of Historic England. Compiled under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, the list includes a great variety of structures from castles to telephone boxes. Listing gives protection to historic buildings and requires their special interest (significance) to be taken into account before any changes are made to them that would affect their special interest (significance).
Listed buildings are graded to show their relative importance: Grade I are of exceptional interest; Grade II* are particularly important and of more than special interest; and Grade II are of special interest. Planning controls however apply to ALL listed buildings irrespective of grade.
Listing is not intended to preserve buildings in aspic, but it does require that particular attention is paid over any works that may affect the structure’s special interest. The long-term interests of an historic building are best served by keeping it in use, preferably the use for which it was designed. Buildings may need to change and adapt, and listing is a way of identifying special interest through the planning process. Listing should be seen as the start of of a process rather than an end in itself.
Extra care is need to ensure that works to historic buildings do not compromise their special interest. Listed building consent is required for altering and extending a listed building in any way that affects its special interest or for the demolition of any part of it, regardless of age. It is important to note that listing includes the whole of the building, not just the exterior, plus any object fixed to it, or structure within its curtilage which may have formed part of the building since before 1 July 1948. In practice most works to a listed building will require consent.