If a property is placed on the listed buildings register, it means the building is of special interest, which warrants every effort being made to preserve it. Listed buildings can be as diverse as churches, houses, bridges and gates.
A building can be listed because of special architectural or historic interest but does not mean that it will be preserved intact in all circumstances, but it does ensure that the case for its preservation is fully considered, through the procedure for obtaining listed building consent.
Listed building consent
What this means in general terms:
Anyone who wants to demolish a listed building, or to alter or extend one in any way that affects its character, must obtain ‘Listed Building Consent’ from the local planning authority or, in some circumstances, the Secretary of State. The procedure is similar to that for obtaining planning permission. (Details can be obtained from the Planning Department of any Local Authority). The application is a long drawn out procedure and we can help you with this, it’s an offence to carry out works without listed building consent.
Should you undertake works on a listed building without consent then you risk having legal action taken against you, this resulting in a fine, imprisonment or in some cases both.
Undertaking repairs or alterations to the building
If a local authority consider that a listed building is not being properly preserved, they may serve on the owner a ‘Repairs Notice’ under Section 48 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act, 1990.
This notice must specify the works which the authority consider reasonably necessary for the proper preservation of the building and if it is not complied with within two months, the authority can make a Compulsory Purchase Order and submit it to the Secretary of State for conformation (Section 47 of the Act).
Sections 54 and 55 of the Act state that if the building is unoccupied, the authority can serve a notice on the owner giving him seven days’ notice of their intention to carry out repairs which are urgently necessary to secure its preservation and recover the cost from the owner. If the owner deliberately neglects the building in order to redevelop the site, the local authority may not only acquire the building, but may do so at a price which excludes the value of the site for redevelopment. These powers may also be exercised by the Secretary of State.
Owners of listed buildings can, in some cases, get grants or loans to help them with repairs and maintenance.