Listed buildings celebrate history and architecture which is worth preserving for future generations.

The grading system for buildings started with the Town and Country Planning Act of 1947 and there are three gradings for buildings and other important structures. All buildings built before 1700 and which survive close to their original condition are listed, as are most buildings built between 1700 and 1840.

Listed building grades

Grade I

Of all the graded buildings in England, only 2.5% are Grade I listed. These are recognised as being buildings or structures of exceptional interest. Examples include Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square, the Royal Festival Hall and Liverpool’s Albert Dock.

Grade II*

Grade II* buildings and structures make up 5.8% of listed buildings in England and are classified as particularly important buildings and exceeding special interest. Famous examples are Alexandra Palace in London and the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

Grade II

Grade II buildings are of special interest and “warrant every effort to preserve them” 91.7% of all listed buildings are in this class and it is the most likely grade of listing for a home owner.

Working on a listed building?

Some people are attracted to the challenge of being the custodian of a Grade II listed building along with the challenge of having it as a modern home while preserving its features. They will need to be prepared to finance works to make sure the building is structurally sound and there may well be renovation involved to restore features in poor condition.

Anyone taking on a listed building needs to be fully aware of financial implications of any renovations or improvements, for example sash windows on a listed building will need to be replaced with replica sash windows and these can be far more expensive than a standard replacement window.

Things made need to be specially made by craftsmen so they are in keeping with the building and planning permission will be needed for a variety of work. Some estate agents specialise in selling listed properties and the local planning authority will be able to advise on the process for applying for listed building consent for works on a building as well as planning permission needed.

Do you have listed buildings on your doorstep? Historic England’s easy search list is the prefect starting place for discovering history in your local area.


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