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Thinking of Buying a Listed House?

A Quick Guide to Listed Houses in England and Wales

If you are lucky enough to own a listed building, you are the custodian of a unique and beautiful property. And although this comes with responsibilities, most listed property owners would probably agree that it is an honour to own such a building and take pride in it.

What is a Listed Building?

In the UK, it is a building with “special architectural and/or historic interest” that appears on a statutory list administered by Historic England. According to Historic England, “listing marks and celebrates a building's special architectural and historic interest, and also brings it under the consideration of the planning system, so that it can be protected for future generations”. In most cases, the classification protects the interior as well as the exterior. This may also include any structures attached to the building, outbuildings, garden walls and even modern extensions.

Grade I Listed Blickling Hall in Norfolk

What is the Difference between Grade I and Grade II Listed Buildings?

According to Historic England, 92% of all listed buildings are GRADE II which are buildings of special interest warranting every effort to preserve them. A further 5.5% are GRADE II*, which is for buildings that are particularly important. The other 2.5% are GRADE I, which are of exceptional interest.

Grade I Listed Ickworth House in Bury St Edmunds

Listed Building Consent

If you are considering buying a listed property with a view to making changes, it’ll be a good idea to speak to the local conservation officer before you buy. Any extensions or alterations that will alter the appearance of the listed house will need the necessary consent from your local conservation officer. He or she will also be able to guide you through the process of applying for consent.

Thinking about Buying a Listed House?

Keep the following in mind:

  • Running costs and repairs will be more expensive as you may have to use tradespeople with special skills and specific materials to carry out repairs.

  • You will need specialist insurance.

  • You will need permission from your local authority for any changes you would like to make.

  • You will have to be very patient and be prepared for some bureaucracy.

Grade II Listed Cottage in Cambridgeshire

Design for Listed Buildings

Designing for these precious buildings should be approached from a different perspective. Conservation of the building is not about preventing change but managing those changes in such a way that the heritage values of the building are always respected.

The question should always be what I can do for the building and not only what I can do inside the building.

Grade II Listed houses in Essex