Introduction to dealing with listed buildings

17 May 2013
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United Kingdom
As mentioned in this thread (// a house we looked at is Grade II listed, and also inside Durham City's conservation area, which focuses on the external appearance of properties being in keeping with the city's heritage.

It seemed better to ask about Listed buildings here and let that thread focus on the technical issues...

I found the property in an online listed building registry and it says:

House. Mid C18. Flemish bond brick with painted ashlar dressings; rendered plinth; painted slate roof. 3 storeys, 3 bays. At right of central bay 6- panelled door in architrave under hood, with panelled soffit, on stone brackets. Header course lintels and projecting stone sills to sashes with glazing bars, those in centre of staircase at lower level. End brick chimney. Wrought iron grille at left to cellar chute.

An older thread on this forum suggested this does NOT mean that's all that is listed, merely those are the notable features someone bothered to write down. Is that correct?

In terms of decorations and renovations, does everything have to be done with permission? I get the impression it's all about negotiating changes on a case-by-case basis but can anyone give a rough idea?

Here are some examples of things one might want to do on this house, which internally is fairly unremarkable other than an original staircase, lathe-plaster walls, and a large cellar:

  1. Replace carpets and repaint walls
  2. [Re]Move an internal wall, or replace it with a modern one
  3. Convert the large loft into a bedroom, with a skylight placed so as to be invisible other than from the sky
  4. Convert the cellar
I know building regs also comes into effect but am just trying to get a feeling for listed buildings - if there is a good article or something on this I'd be glad to see it. Maybe a blog?
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The whole house is listed. This is true regardless of the Grade of listing. Structures within its curtilage may also be listed. As it is a criminal offence to undertake work to a listed building without permission, if there is any doubt whatosever about the status of a given element within that building, it is sensible to consult with the local authority before proceeding. I've heard that prison is not much fun.
Thanks. I've not come across the word "curtilage" before, I looked it up and to confirm in a regular house with garden but no extensive grounds, this would cover the whole site?
Yes. The whole site. There is no legal definition. Ridiculous, really. A whole book could be written (and probably has) on what does and does not constitute curtilage. Note also, that curtilage in the context of permitted development, and curtilage in the context of listed buildings is a subtly different thing. But basically, curtilage is the land immediately attached to the house - so the front and back garden on a conventional terraced house.
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@ OP; it can be risky buying a listed building as you are liable for any unauthorized work which may come to light, including such work done by previous owners.
Ahh now tony's your man, seeing as he was born right around the time your house was built and he lives in the slums where little has changed for 150 years.
A lot of accurate information is to found here

A lot depends on the attitude of the Conservation Officer(s) in your local council. Very often there has to be bit of relaxation of conservation of the original in order that the building can be made and then kept viable as a home or business premise. If the building is not viable for some purpose then it can lapse into dis-use and decay.
I'll ask around friends living in the same area to see how they got on. I know of a couple of substantial projects people did, and I'm guessing at least one is likely to have been a listed property based on it's age and so on.


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