Listed buildings

A Listed Building [external link] is a property or structure which the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) considers to possess “special architectural or historic interest.” Although many are buildings the List for Darlington also includes signposts, monuments, fountains and a telephone kiosk, among other things.

Questions that people have asked

Is my building listed?

The National Heritage List for England (NHLE) [external link] provides a useful map search function and is the official up to date register of all historic building and sites in England. Details of how these buildings have been selected can be found here [external link].

What does the grade of Listed Buildings mean?

The DCMS classifies Listed Buildings into three categories, known as grades: I (one), II* (two star) and II (two). Altogether the Borough has about 550 Listed Buildings. Of these around 93% are Grade II listed, that possess “special interest.” Grade II* Listed Buildings, around 6% of the total, are defined as being “of more than special interest.” Around 1% of Listed Buildings are Grade I, described as being of “exceptional interest.

How does Listing affect me?

The Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 is the main legislation for Listed Buildings. Government guidance can also be found in the National Planning Policy Framework [external link]

The regulations apply to an owner or occupier of a Listed Building, contractors employed to carry-out work and anyone who might alter or damage one. Any changes that would affect the character or appearance of the building, including interior changes, are likely to require Listed Building consent. For example historic fabric, such as doors, windows, fireplaces and so on, are important to the character of the building. Consent is likely to be required for their alteration, removal or replacement. It is always advisable to consult the Borough Council’s Planning Services before proceeding with any changes.

It is a criminal offence to materially alter or affect the character or appearance of a listed building without first obtaining listed building consent.

If you intend to purchase a Listed Building it would be your responsibility to check whether consent has been granted for any changes since the building was listed. It may also be a condition of buildings insurance or financial loans that works have been carried-out with Listed Building Consent. Further advice is available from Historic England [external link].

Maintenance is importance to preserve Listed Buildings [external link]. Where a Listed Building has fallen into disrepair such that it may be ‘at risk’ [external link] the 1990 Act empowers local authorities. This could include serving notice on the owner to undertake repairs [external link], whether the building is occupied or unoccupied. Alternatively the Local Planning Authority can make urgent repairs [external link] itself and then take action through the Courts to have the costs of the urgent works repaid by the owner [external link]. Sources of advice are given at the end of this page.

What is included in the Listing?

The entire property is covered by the designation. This includes: the interior as well as the exterior of the main building; any modern extensions or alterations; historic gardens; outbuildings; and walls, structures or other features within the ‘curtilage’ of the building.

The building is described in the documentation to identify it. This refers first to the outside; and might describe interior features where it has been possible to inspect the inside. Any object or fixture attached to a Listed Building is treated as part of it. This would include wall panels, fireplaces, doors, decorative plasterwork and most other fixed features, as appropriate to the building. Please note that regardless of whether or not a part of the building is mentioned in the description it is still protected.

Any existing building that was in the curtilage of the Listed Building before 1 July 1948 is taken to be within the protection of the listing of the main building and is regarded as ‘Curtilage Listed' [pdf document]. Free-standing structures erected in the curtilage since 1 July 1948 are not protected by the listing.

How do I apply for Listed Building Consent?

Applications for Listed Building Consent [external link] are dealt with by the Development Management team at Darlington Borough Council, along with applications for Planning Permission and other planning related applications.

Where can I get further help about Listed Buildings?

Install our web app.