Our house is a Grade II listed building. A listed building is one which has been placed on the Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. There are just under 500,000 buildings in the UK to which this applies.
According to English Heritage:
Listing helps us acknowledge and understand our shared history. It marks and celebrates a building's special architectural and historic interest, and also brings it under the consideration of the planning system so that some thought will be taken about its future.
The older a building is, the more likely it is to be listed. All buildings built before 1700 which survive in anything like their original condition are listed, as are most of those built between 1700 and 1840.
Grade II buildings are nationally important and of special interest; 92% of all listed buildings are in this class and it is the most likely grade of listing for a home owner.
A listed building may not be altered without special permission from the local planning authority. This is called listed building consent and is in addition to the normal requirements for planning permission.
(cartoon by the very talented Merrily Harpur)
Our house was listed on 29 July 1983 when it was described as:
C17 house, remodelled in early C19. Coursed rubble, pantile roof. Three storeys; 2 windows, glazing bar sashes. Ground floor has modern bow windows. Heavy flat timber hood on brackets over modern door with plain painted stone surround. Gabled 2-storey wing and 2-storey extension at rear (originally separate cottage or workshop). Date plaque 1819 on front dates re-modelling. Interior has chamfered beams.
The listing is wrong about the date plaque, which is actually 1812, and the hood over the door is stone rather than timber. The listing also fails to mention a number of other historic features such as the inglenook fireplace, elm floorboards, oak doors, iron door furniture, shell-headed buffet and spice cupboard.
Application for listed building consent
Before making a formal application for listed building consent and planning permission, our architect has submitted a request for pre-application advice from the planning department at our local council. They will give us an informal assessment of their likely attitude to our proposed application, enabling us to tailor our plans accordingly. Hopefully, this will help to avoid disputes when our actual application is submitted and will enable things to proceed more smoothly and quickly.
Our architect submitted the request just before Christmas. We heard on 4 January that it has been received and registered and that we should hear back from them within 2 to 4 weeks.