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.