Restoring a listed building can be fraught with problems and hoops through which you’re forced to jump. However, with a little homework and a few phone calls you can make the process a much smoother affair and complete your project sooner.
The first step towards obtaining Listed Building Consent is to speak to your local Conservation Officer. You can apply online or get a paper form here.
You will need consent if you’re planning to extend or change a building that will affect its character. You’ll also need consent if you’re planning to demolish a listed building, obviously.
Carrying out work without consent on a listed building is a criminal offence so in that respect it is always better to work your way through what can sometimes be bureaucratic system to obtaining permission for changes than to simple go ahead and make changes and hope either a) they won’t be seen or b) they will be approved retrospectively. We often carry out work to reinstate period windows that have been removed or altered without first gaining consent which even without prosecution means the home owner has had to pay twice.
Unfortunately, there are no steadfast rules for what can and can’t be altered without first obtaining consent. Even more confusing is that what might be acceptable in one authority may not be in another, often it comes down to the individual Conservation Officer.
Understanding the history of your property, the changes that have been made in the past is key to obtaining consent.
When considering an application your local council will weigh the heritage, special features, regional setting, local regard and many other factors before approving or rejecting the application. For these reasons every application is different, unique and measured on its own merits.
You can find a full list of information here you’ll need when creating your application and Design and access statement.
If you’re applying for relatively small works, then local authorities have a target of 8 weeks. Bear in mind this is a target and like all government targets, can be missed.
The 8 weeks includes 21 days where your neighbours and other interested parties will be consulted.
To ensure the application process moves smoothly and has the best chance of it is advised to arrange a pre-application meeting with your conservation officer. Some authorities charge a fee for this service.