Listed Buildings

Listed buildings are buildings or structures of special architectural or historic interest.  The list is in fact a register compiled by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.  Listed buildings enjoy special protected status under planning law.  The purpose of the listing is to ensure that the character and special interest of the building is preserved.  To protect the country's heritage, demolition is rarely allowed and only then after the most careful and detailed consideration.

Buildings can be added to the list using a procedure known as spot listing. These buildings have the same status as other listed buildings. Spot listing is sometimes preceded by a Building Preservation Notice, which is served by the council. This has the effect of listing the building for up to six months until the Department for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport decides to make the listing permanent. Anyone can apply to the Department for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport to have a building listed, for further information see the Historic England pages regarding listing applications.

There are just over 1,300 listed buildings in the Epping Forest District.  These include 16 Grade I listed buildings, such as Hill Hall at Theydon Mount, but the vast majority are Grade II, and range from timber framed cottages to more unusual buildings such as village pumps, bridges or telephone kiosks. The National Heritage List for Englandis an online database of all heritage assets including listed buildings.


 FAQs about listed buildings:

How are buildings (and other structures) chosen for listing?

All buildings built before 1700 that survive in anything like their original condition are included, as are most buildings built between 1700 and 1840. Between 1840 and 1914 only buildings of definite quality and character are listed. Occasionally exceptional modern buildings may be listed.

Buildings are classified in grades to show their relative importance:
•    Grade II are of special interest, warranting every effort to preserve them (94% of total)
•    Grade II* are particularly important buildings of more than special interest (4% of total)
•    Grade I buildings are those of exceptional interest (2% of total)

In choosing buildings for listing particular attention is paid to:
•    Special value within certain types, either for architectural or planning reasons, or as illustrating social or economic history (e.g. industrial buildings, railway stations, schools, hospitals, theatres, town halls, markets, exchanges, almshouses, prisons, lock-ups and mills)
•    Technological innovation or virtuosity (e.g. prefabrication, cast iron, or the early use of concrete)
•    Association with well-known characters or events
•    Group value as in examples of town planning (e.g. squares, terraces, or model villages)

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport have published 'Principles of Selection for Listing Buildings', as a guide to the selection criteria. Historic England also gives information on selection guidelines.


How do I get a building listed?

You can apply online to have a building or or structure listed through the Historic England website. The list itself is managed by Historic England, but the final decision whether or not to list is made by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport

Requests for a building to be spot listed can be made to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport at any time, although priority will be given to those buildings which are under threat.

What does listing cover?

The entire building is included in the listing – the inside as well as the outside.  Contrary to popular belief there is no such thing as just a listed facade or just a listed interior.  Anything in the grounds of the building that was there before 1948 (even if it was not fixed to the listed building) is also listed. This includes outbuildings, boundary and garden walls, gates and statuary.

Anything fixed to a listed building is also listed, whether it is mentioned in the list description or not.  The list description of a building is not intended to be exhaustive, and usually only notes particular features that help to date or identify the building.

The setting of a listed building is also often an essential feature of its character and an important factor when new development or extensions are being considered.

What is Listed Building Consent?

A listed building must not be demolished, extended or altered in any way that would affect its character, without first obtaining Listed Building Consent.  You must get this consent by applying to the District Council before beginning any works. This is a control that the council has in addition to planning permission, which may also be required.

The consent applies to all types of works and to the whole of the listed building; interior, exterior, anything attached to the building, and any structure which stands within its curtilage and has done so since 1948 (so a modern shed wouldn't qualify but a 19th century barn, for example, would). It is a matter of judgement as to which elements are the most significant and which elements hold no or little significance.


What works require Listed Building Consent?

Remember that any work that could affect the character of a listed building requires Listed Building Consent.  The following list provides examples of work that requires Listed Building Consent:

  • Any form of extension or demolition
  • Removal or insertion of chimney stacks
  • Recovering of roof with different materials
  • Any alterations to doors or windows
  • Addition of porch, bay windows or conservatory
  • Erection of satellite dish
  • Removal of parapet or cornice, canopy or balcony, or other architectural features
  • Painting of the exterior – involving a change of colour to woodwork or walls
  • Internal alterations (for example, the removal of staircase, fireplace or structural timbers)
  • Removal of interior doors
  • Creation of through rooms
  • Addition of signs, advertisements or shutters.

The above list is non exhaustive, if you are in any doubt it is always advisable to check with the Epping Forest District Council Planning Services before carrying out any work.


What about repairs?

Repairs that are carried out using identical materials do not normally require Listed Building Consent. The District Council will always encourage owners of listed buildings to undertake sympathetic repair work, where possible, rather than the replacement of original features. The replacement of original materials and features can often harm the character or appearance of buildings, especially when cheap or unsuitable materials are used. Many original features can be preserved with careful repair.

The following materials are NOT usually acceptable:
•    Concrete roof tiles and machine-made roof tiles
•    Synthetic resin slates
•    Narrow, PVC or composite weatherboarding
•    Standard, mock-period windows and doors or PVC windows and doors
•    Modern softwood rafters and beams in place of oak
•    PVC rainwater gutters and downpipes
•    Hard cement renders and mortars.

The Council strongly recommends a registered architect or surveyor to be consulted, especially if you are considering any alterations or extensions.
Historic England also gives information on repairs


What is meant by 'duty of repair'?

Owners of listed buildings have a legal duty to maintain their property in reasonable repair.  In exceptional cases the District Council may serve a notice requiring the repair of a listed building where it considers that certain works are required for the proper preservation of the building.  The notice sets out in detail the works required and gives a time by which such works must be carried out.

The District Council can compulsorily purchase a badly neglected listed building at minimum compensation, or have basic repairs done and recharge the cost to the owner.  The council uses these powers reluctantly, but is prepared to do so to ensure the long-term survival of the built heritage of the District.

What is the best way to maintain a listed building?

Carrying out regular maintenance is crucial to prevent expensive repairs. It is important to obtain specialist advice as historic buildings require special care. Do-it-yourself repairs or work done by inexperienced tradesmen is often short-lived and does not solve the basic problems. People inexperienced in dealing with old buildings often propose solutions that are unnecessarily costly and may spoil the character of the building. If defects are left they may become difficult and costly to put right. Historic England also gives information on maintenance


Can I get financial help?

The District Council may make grants towards the cost of repairs to listed buildings. Such repairs often cost more because of the need to use high quality materials and employ special craftsmanship to preserve the character of historic buildings.

Grant aid will only normally be offered for the cost of repairs, and as of September 2006 will only be available to non-residential listed buildings. The work must be considered necessary to retain and enhance the character of the building.

The following list provides examples of eligible work:
•    Repairs to roof and roof structure
•    Repairs to timber frame and weatherboarding
•    Repair of doors and windows
•    Insertion of damp proof course
•    Eradication of dry rot
•    Repairs to foundations
•    Repairs to brickwork
•    Renewal of rainwater gutters and down-pipes.

Domestic work, such as decorating, and other minor works, such as plastering, rewiring or plumbing, are not normally grant aided.

Grants are calculated on a sliding scale applied to the total cost of eligible works, excluding VAT, as set out below.
1.    30 percent of first £1000 of eligible costs
2.    20 percent of second £1000 of eligible costs
3.    10 percent of remaining costs, up to a maximum grant of £1000.

A grant is only available when eligible expenditure exceeds £200. The Maximum grant of £1000 is payable when eligible expenditure exceeds £7000. The allocation of grant is always at the discretion of the council.

The total grant which may be provided will not exceed 20 percent of the total cost of eligible works, however the annual budget is limited, and grants are awarded on a first come first served basis from April each year. However, the total amounts paid for small scale works is restricted and the maximum grant will normally be no more than £1000. Contact us for more details about grant applications and eligibility.


Phone Contact us....

Telephone: 01992 564358

Or you can write to us at:
Listed Buildings and Conservation, Epping Forest District Council, Civic Offices, High Street, Epping, Essex CM16 4BZ

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