Can I renovate or extend a listed building?

Understanding the complexities of owning a listed property can be quite daunting. What can and can you not do?

That’s the question we’re often asked at Hughes Architects. To many, it’s a myriad of regulations and red tape. But in fact, with expert help, work to renovate and even extend a Grade II listed property can be a lot easier than many property owners realise.

Let’s take a step back.

Is it Grade I or Grade II ?

A listed building will be classed as Grade I or Grade II. Let’s focus on Grade II as for the majority of residential properties this will be the listed status.

In Wales there are around 30,000 listed buildings. These are listed by Cadw, the Welsh Historic Monuments organisation. The majority of these will be Grade II. These are buildings of special interest “which justify every effort being made to preserve them,” according to Cadw.

Around 91 per cent of all listed buildings in Wales and 92 per cent of those in England are Grade II.

So how are buildings assessed and graded as listed? This is how Cadw assesses it:

•Architectural interest

•Historic interest

•Close historical associations

•Age and rarity

I want to make alterations to my home

A large number of Grade II listed buildings are residential properties. But what happens if you want to make alterations, renovate or extend such a property?

The owner of any listed building is responsible for its maintenance and repair. And when its comes to making any changes to such a building there are formalities to go through.

Ask if building consent is required

To alter, extend or demolish a listed building an owner will need to find out from their local planning authority if they need listed building consent.

As Cadw states: “It is a criminal offence to demolish, alter or extend a listed building in any way that affects its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest unless you have listed building consent.”

For like-for-like repairs you will not generally require listed building consent. But if you are planning alterations that may affect the character of the building, such as replacing windows, remodelling, extending or renovating, then you will.

It’s worth calling your local planning authority in the first instance.

In many cases there are ways to renovate and even extend a Grade II listed property and we have many such commissions under our belt where we have planned carefully, discussed with relevant planning officers and successfully applied for listed building planning consent.

These have included homes, churches and other buildings.

If you want to renovate or extend your home or property, we at Hughes Architects will be happy to discuss it with you and consider the best way forward.

Why not email us at enquiries@hughesarchitects.co.uk or telephone our Newtown office on 01686 610311 in the first instance.