What is a listed building?

‘Listing’ refers to a building which is included on the statutory list of ‘buildings of special architectural or historic interest’, which is sometimes referred to as The National Heritage List.

It recognises that a building is special in a national context and brings with it controls over alteration, extension and demolition.

Contrary to popular belief, listing normally protects the entire building both inside and out and any structures which are either attached to the building (including modern extensions) or fall within its curtilage (if they were built before 1948). It sometimes includes garden walls, outbuildings and even statuary within the garden.

The statutory list includes the address of the property, the date first listed, the grade of the listing, a map reference and a brief description of the property. More recent listings include a detailed description of the building’s significance and a map which accurately defines the extent of the listing.

If you would like a copy of your home’s listing please get in touch with The Listed Property Owners’ Club on 01795 844939.


How are listed buildings chosen?

Buildings are selected for a range of qualities, the most significant being their age. The older a building is the more likely it is to be listed. Modern buildings are listed but they need to be particularly special in order to qualify. All buildings built before 1700 which have survived in anything like their original condition are listed. Most buildings dating from between 1700 and 1840 are listed, although some selectivity is applied, while buildings from 1840 to 1914 are selected on the basis of their demonstrating technological advances, being the work of particular architects, or possessing some notable feature. More recent post-war buildings are also now being considered for listing.

The very wide definition of ‘building’ in The Town and Country Planning Act (1990) – “Any structure or erection, and any part of a building, as so defined” – allows any man-made structure, from barns to bridges and telephone boxes to grave stones, to be listed buildings.


Listed Status England and Wales

Buildings are of exceptional interest; only 2.5% of listed buildings are Grade I.

Buildings are particularly important, being of more than special interest; 5.5% of listed buildings are Grade II*.

Buildings of special architectural or historic interest; 92% of listed buildings are Grade II.

In England there are approximately 376,000 listed building entries amounting to over 500,000 listed buildings. It is hard to be precise as one list entry for example, can cover a row of terraced houses.


Listed Status Scotland

Buildings of national or international importance, either architectural or historic, or fine little-altered examples of some particular period, style or building type.

Buildings of regional or more than local importance, or major examples of some particular period, style or building type which may have been altered.

Buildings of local importance, lesser examples of any periods, style or building type, as originally constructed or altered; and simple, traditional buildings which group well with others in categories A and B or are part of a planned group such as an estate or an industrial complex.

Northern Ireland uses a similar system to Scotland with grades A, B+, B1 and B2.

The Listed Property Owners’ Club are experts in helping its members understand everything they need to know about owning a listed building. If you own or are thinking of buying a listed building, download our Guide to Owning or Buying a Listed Building and our Guide to Insuring Your Listed Property. For a free printed copy of these guides or to speak to an expert to see how we can help, call us on 01795 844939.