Breathing new life into listed buildings has become big business, in keeping with the Government’s commitment to regeneration. However, you need the consent of the local planning authority and English Heritage before you sneeze.
Buildings which are listed or which lie within a conservation area, are protected by law. This does not mean that you can never alter or demolish one, but carrying out such work without the appropriate consent is a criminal offence.
If you plan to buy a listed building or live within a conservation area, find out which restrictions or planning constraints apply to you before signing anything.
Talk to the local authority, which employs an officer specialising in this area. Your building may only have the facade listed – as in most buildings of Grey and Grainger Streets. It may, however, require you to use materials that were around at the time it was constructed, and have internal as well as external listed building status, such as Alderman Fenwick’s or Bessie Surtees’ Houses..
Consideration will be given to commercial requirements and change of use. If your planned changes do not affect the exterior, planning consent is usually fairly straightforward.
Conservation Areas are protected to preserve their special architectural character and historic value. Your proposed property may not be listed, but may still have to conform to planning control if it is within such an area – such as much of Newcastle city centre.
Works which require listed building consent include:
Demolition – The removal of any part of the listed building.
Extensions – All forms of extensions including porches, dormer windows and conservatories. Extensions must be of appropriate scale and design, constructed with suitable materials, and with careful attention paid to detail.
External Alterations- These include new, replacement or double glazed windows, doors, roofing materials, roof lights, rendering, painting or cladding.
Internal Alterations – Such as staircases, internal walls, wall panelling, window shutters, fireplaces, doors, plasterwork and woodwork mouldings
Minor Works – Some will require consent when they affect the character of a listed building. Examples include satellite dishes, external lighting, shutters, door furniture, alarm boxes, nameplates, infrared detectors, signs and advertisements, external meter boxes, central heating and other flues
Preserving and enhancing a listed building is the best way to keep it in use for generations to come. Planners and the government are well aware of this – so don’t be put off by listed status before investigating the merits, and the costs, of redeveloping it.