Listed buildings

A listed building is one which is formally declared to be of importance to the nation in terms of historical or architectural interest.

For detailed information about listed buildings, please click on the headings below.

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  • What makes a listed building?

    There is a statutory duty to compile lists of buildings of special architectural or historic interest for the country. The list is a register. It identifies buildings which are of special interest and gives us extra powers to protect them, as well as imposing extra responsibilities on their owners.

    Not all these criteria will be relevant to every case, but a particular building may qualify for listing under more than one of them.

    All buildings built before 1700 which survive in anything like their original condition are listed; and most buildings from around 1700 to 1840 are listed, although some selection is necessary. After about 1840, because of the greatly increased number of buildings erected and the much larger numbers that have survived, greater selection is necessary to identify the best examples of particular building types, and only buildings of definite quality and character are listed.

    For the same reasons, only selected buildings from the period after 1914 are normally listed. Buildings which are less than 30 years old are normally listed only if they are of outstanding quality and under threat. Buildings which are less than ten years old are not listed.

  • Is my property a listed building?

    You can search online to find listed buildings. You can also examine the list of Dacorum's listed buildings at the planning department at The Forum in Hemel Hempstead.

    For details on how to add or remove a building from the list, please visit the Historic England – Listed Buildings website.

    It is important to note that buildings can be and are removed from the list as a result of poor or inappropriate alterations, extensions or 'modernisations', which reduce not only their historic value, but their sale value, too. It is a criminal offence to carry out works to a listed building without having listed building consent. Unauthorised works can be subject to prosecution.

    We also maintain a register of listed buildings at risk; buildings which are in such a serious state of disrepair that their future is threatened. Please email the conservation team on conservation@dacorum.gov.uk to find out if a building is on the register or if you think a building should be added to the register.

    De-listing

    It is not normally possible to get a building de-listed once listed. Removal of historic fabric or features of architectural interest is not an aid to getting a building de-listed and is more than likely to result in prosecution in a court of law with heavy fines, or even imprisonment.

  • How much of the listed building is actually listed?

    All of it, inside and out. There is no such thing as just a ‘listed facade’ or ‘listed interior’.

    The description in the official list is not intended to provide a comprehensive record of all the features of importance. It simply identifies the building. Anything fixed to a listed building is also listed. Any structure in the grounds, which was there before 1948 (even if not fixed to the listed building), is listed. This includes boundary and garden walls and gates. The setting of a listed building is often an important factor when new development or extensions are being considered.

    Any previous extensions carried out after 1947 will be taken into account when considering a listed buildings application.

  • Repairing or changing a listed building

    Repair

    All buildings need repair at some time and old ones especially. Like-for-like repairs are encouraged and can generally be carried out without consent. However, for complex repairs and alterations, listed buildings consent is required. You must discuss such work with the planning service before starting.

    There are three principles which you should be aware of when undertaking any repairs or alterations to a listed building or to historic fabric.

    • Minimum intervention - conserve as much of the existing fabric as possible and avoid unnecessary alterations and risks.
    • Honesty - alterations should be sympathetic to the existing fabric in terms of performance and character. But making new work appear old, or restoring elements which may never have existed in the past, confuses the historical interpretation of the fabric and can create the appearance of a fake, devaluing original material.
    • Reversibility - wherever possible, use only repair and alteration techniques that can be reversed later, so that, if necessary, the object could be returned to the state in which it was found without harm.

    Owners have a legal responsibility to look after listed buildings properly. Where listed buildings fall into serious disrepair, we have powers to issue a Repairs Notice requiring certain repairs to be carried out within a given time. If the owner does not do the work, we can carry out the repairs ourselves and recover the costs from the owner.

    Grant aid may be available to help with the cost of repairs. Your listed building may qualify for financial assistance towards repairs from Historic England. Historic England grant aid is for ‘outstanding’ listed buildings - normally only Grade I and II structures.

    Grant assistance may also be available for repairs to a listed building if it qualifies for a House Renovation Grant under the Housing Acts. You may consider consulting charitable trusts, particularly if your building is going into community use or if it has particular amenity value.

    Alterations to a listed building are usually exempt from VAT so long as listed building consent has been granted and the work has been carried out by a VAT-registered contractor. All other work is subject to the tax.

    What is listed building consent?

    A listed building must not be demolished, extended or altered in any way that affects its character without having been granted listed building consent.

    Please discuss this with a conservation officer to get their initial view. Proposals for the building should seek to preserve and enhance the character of the building and its setting. Some alterations or extensions to listed buildings may also require planning permission.

    Applying for listed building consent

    You can apply for listed building consent via the Planning Portal website or by completing the  Listed building consent application form (PDF 82KB) and returning to us. A  Heritage statement (PDF 40KB) will also need to accompany your application.

    We will consult with Historic England and special amenity groups, where necessary, before deciding the application. More information is available on the Historic England website.

    Policy 119 of the Dacorum Borough Local Plan 1991-2011 provides the basis for considering all listed building applications. This is consistent with advice in PPG15 (Planning and the Historic Environment). If you are unhappy with our decision, then you have a right of appeal to the secretary of state.  

  • Article 4 Directions

    Some buildings and areas do not merit listing but are worth special protection. These can be covered by an ‘Article 4 Direction’.

    This means you must get permission for any changes that would not normally need approval - for example, within a conservation area or curtilage of a listed building. If your home is affected, you should discuss any proposed changes with us before starting work.

    You can find the list of houses under these directions on the conservation area page.

  • Scheduled monument consent

    Scheduled monument consent is required for development on or within the curtilage of a scheduled monument and, on occasion, in addition to the requirements for planning permission and/or listed building consent. All work, including repairs to a scheduled monument - whether above or below ground - is notifiable to the secretary of state and any application is made direct to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Application forms and guidance notes can be downloaded from the above site.

Penalties for unauthorised works

If you live in a listed building and you alter or demolish it without consent you will face a penalty. If taken to Crown Court you could face two years in prison and a fine without limit.

Remember: it’s always better to ask first.

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