The Building Conservation Directory 2023

26 T H E B U I L D I N G C O N S E R VAT I O N D I R E C T O R Y 2 0 2 3 | C E L E B R AT I N G 3 0 Y E A R S C AT H E D R A L C O M M U N I C AT I O N S LISTED BUILDINGS JONATHAN TAYLOR H ISTORIC BUILDINGS in the UK which are considered worthy of special protection are ‘listed’ by central government. This level of protection is reserved for important buildings and structures which are still in use or are capable of being adapted for reuse. ‘Scheduling’, which is also carried out by central government, offers a slightly higher level of protection but it is generally applied to monuments and ruins, not usable buildings. This is because almost all work to a scheduled monument must be approved, including repair and maintenance work, whereas for a listed building the works requiring consent are generally limited to alterations and demolition work. Groups of historic buildings may also enjoy a lower level of protection by the designation of a conservation area by the local planning authority. Buildings in a conservation area which are not themselves listed buildings are given some degree of protection by the designation, principally from demolition. In addition, some works to houses which would usually be considered ‘permitted development’ such as changes to windows, doors and garden walls, may be brought under the local authority’s control through an article 4 direction. This makes planning permission a requirement for specified works to the exteriors of all buildings in the conservation area. Neither the listing of buildings nor the designation of conservation areas are intended to prevent the adaptation of buildings: some change is essential if a building is to remain in use over the centuries. However, extending the need for consent to more types of development ensures that the appropriate expertise is brought in to advise on the process of adaptation, minimising the risk of unnecessary harm. LISTING GRADES/CATEGORIES Lists of buildings of ‘special architectural or historic interest’ are maintained by each of the four home nations. These listings are graded according to a variety of factors such as rarity and completeness, with Grade I and category A being the most important, but all listed buildings are equally protected by the need for consent, whatever the grade/category, inside and out. It is a criminal offence to materially alter, extend or demolish one without listed building consent. Applications for listed building consent (LBC) are made to the local planning authority who will then consult the national statutory body on applications for demolition and certain other types of work. Where alterations are proposed, Historic England and Cadw are only consulted on proposals to alter Grades I and II* listed buildings in England and Wales, and Historic Environment Scotland is only consulted on categories A and B in Scotland. In Northern Ireland the Historic Environment Division of the Department for Communities is consulted on all applications affecting listed buildings. Buildings of a lower grade or category than those in the table above have no statutory protection, although local planning policy may seek to protect them through the control of development. In England and Wales these are called locally listed buildings or local listings, and ‘record only’ in Northern Ireland. In LISTED BUILDING GRADES/CATEGORIES (and proportions in each) England Grade I (2.5%) Grade II* (5.5%) Grade II (92%) Wales Grade I (2%) Grade II* (6%) Grade II (92%) Scotland Category A (8%) Category B (50%) Category C (42%) Northern Ireland Grade A (2.5%) Grade B+ (6.5%) Grade B1/B2 (91%) The Dockyard Church of Sheerness on the Isle of Sheppey, Kent is a Grade II* listed building dating from 1828, which was reduced to a shell by a fire in 2001. The building is now being converted for use as a business incubator hub for young people by Sheerness Dockyard Preservation Trust with the help of contractors Coniston Ltd, Artisan Plastercraft and a £4.2 million grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund. (Photo: Artisan Plastercraft).