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Listed buildings

Listed buildings

Listed buildings have special architectural or historic importance and are of national interest.

There are 3838 listed buildings and structures within West Northamptonshire. They range from churches, stately homes, farmhouses and industrial buildings, through to gates, war memorials, water pumps and telephone kiosks.

Together they represent the best examples of our architectural and historic heritage.

Buildings are classified in grades of importance:

  • Grade I - buildings of exceptional interest
  • Grade II* - particularly important buildings of more than special interest
  • Grade II - buildings of special interest warranting preservation

Historic England is responsible for maintaining the National Heritage List, which contains details of all listed buildings in England. It is available to view online and can be used to determine whether a particular building is listed or not:

What parts of a building are listed

The whole of a building is listed, both the interior and the exterior, as well as objects or structures fixed to the building. 

In addition, buildings and structures (including boundary walls) which have been in the curtilage, or formed part of the land associated with the principal building since before 1948, will usually be treated as part of the listing, and are subject to the same protection.

Please note that the entries on the National Heritage List mapping system are for identification only and will not show the whole extent of the listed building. Curtilage listed buildings and structures are also not shown.

Historic England provides advice on how to assess the extent of the curtilage of a listed building:

Getting consent for works to a listed building

The listing of a building is not intended to prevent all change to it, but to sympathetically manage change.

Listed building consent is needed for all work to a listed building that:

  • involves alterations, extensions or demolition
  • will affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest. 

Such works may range from the smallest refurbishment project to wholesale demolition.

The replacement of original features will always require consent. Replacement will only be acceptable where it is clearly justified and combined with historically sensitive design, materials and methods.

It is a criminal offence to carry out works which affect the character and special interest of the listed building without first getting consent, or to carry out works that do not comply with any conditions attached to such consent.

Many proposals for works to a listed building may also require an application for planning permission or building regulation approval.

All applications for listed building consent should describe the significance of any heritage assets affected by the proposed work, and you may need to submit supporting technical information. You may find it helpful to use an historic buildings advisor to assist you submitting an application.

Works which may not need consent

Repairs should be considered as the first option in most instances, and there is no need to apply for listed building consent for regular maintenance work that is carried out on a like for like basis using materials and finishes to match the existing.

The extent and degree of these repairs may have a bearing on whether consent is required.

It is always best to contact us and ask if there is any uncertainty about whether repair works are likely to need consent.

Works needing consent

Listed below are examples of the types of works that require listed building consent. Please note this list is not exhaustive. Additionally, Historic England provide further guidance on listed building consents.

  • Demolition - the removal of any part of the listed building (including objects and structures within the curtilage of the listed building) will require listed building consent
  • Extensions - all forms of extensions including porches, dormer windows and conservatories will require listed building consent. Any extensions must be of appropriate scale and design constructed with suitable materials and with careful attention paid to detail
  • External alterations - external works, including decorative alterations, will require listed building consent. These include:
    • replacement or double glazed windows or doors
    • new rendering, painting or cladding or the removal of existing
    • new roofing materials (or the addition of fabric/features to a roof - e.g. solar panels)
    • insertion of roof lights
    • repointing in different materials or pointing style
  • Internal alterations - are likely to require listed building consent, especially if they propose the removal or alteration of historic fabric or would involve the use of modern materials like plasterboard, insulation, damp proofing or timber treatment, including:
    • staircases
    • internal walls, floors and ceilings
    • wall panelling and window shutters
    • fireplaces
    • doors
    • plasterwork and woodwork mouldings 
  • Minor works - require listed building consent when they affect the special character of a listed building. These include:
    • satellite dishes
    • external lighting and wiring
    • shutters
    • door furniture
    • alarm boxes
    • nameplates, signs and advertisements
    • infrared detectors or CCTV
    • external meter boxes, electric chargers
    • central heating or other flues, vents, extracts, air con and heat recovery units and pipework

Other guidance

Historic England’s website provides lots of useful information on listed buildings including:

Last updated 15 January 2024