Listing marks and celebrates a building’s special architectural and historic interest, and also brings it under the consideration of the planning system, so that it can be protected for future generations.
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. Particularly careful selection is required for buildings from the period after 1945. Usually a building has to be over 30 years old to be eligible for listing.
There are two main routes to listing:
In both cases they make a recommendation to the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, media and Sport (DCMS) based on Principles of selection for listed buildings and they make the final decision whether a site should be listed or not.
Listing is not a preservation order, preventing change. It does not freeze a building in time, it simply means that listed building consent must be applied for in order to make any changes to that building which might affect its special interest.
Listed buildings are to be enjoyed and used, like any other building. Listed buildings can be altered, extended and sometimes even demolished within government planning guidance. The local authority uses listed building consent to make decisions that balance the site’s historic significance against other issues, such as its function, condition or viability.