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  • Writer's pictureSusan Van Meter

Residential listed building consent and what it means?

Do you know when to apply?

As we work in London on luxury residential interior designed homes, some of our projects fall into the listed building category, which means there is a need to apply for building consent, even if the work is internal.

You definitely need to apply for building consent if you are considering works and buying or living in one of the following properties.

  1. A Grade I listed building - buildings of exceptional interest.

  2. A Grade II *listed building - particularly important buildings of more than special interest.

  3. A Grade II listed building - buildings that are of special interest, warranting every effort to preserve them.


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What is listed building consent?

"Grade II listed buildings are subject to regulations which protect their historical and architectural significance. These buildings are of special interest, meaning alterations and building work can't be carried out without written consent from the relevant authorities."

If you want to move walls, change a bathroom or kitchen, replace floors and even change a paint colour, you should always apply for consent from the local authority.

We always make the application on behalf of our clients as the process can be time-consuming and fiddly. The application is not expensive normally around £200 plus or minus depending on what you're applying for.

We submit scaled location drawings, any images and information for consideration as part of the interior design scheme we are proposing.

Building Control is separate and may be called upon to check the building and progress of work once permission has been granted.

Some builders would prefer to skip the consent process as it can lead to a very long-drawn-out process. However, it can also cause more problems by not obtaining consent resulting in work being stopped and fines being issued!

What they do not want you to do is remove an existing original part of the structure which is of integral architectural significance. As an example, it would be okay to lay a new floor over the existing original floor, but not to remove the original floor. Lathe and plaster walls should remain intact. Any cornice and plasterwork to remain, they will tell you if it's original or not. If the original sash windows are not fit for purpose, they must be replaced with the same type, in timber, not UPVC, and have the same amount of glazing bars. Generally, secondary glazing is also not allowed or glass with a film on it.

They will stick to the rules and not bend them!

An application can take 8-10 weeks for consent, depending on the local authority. I have always found it helpful to speak to the department in charge if you're not 100% sure your application will be accepted. This will save you time.

As an example, we worked on two properties in the same road, one was a full renovation, the other was the replacement of sash windows to the front and a change of balcony railings to the rear, both were on the very top floor of the 5 storey buildings - and no lifts!

The property with the railing was the most difficult to obtain consent. Our client was surrounded by balconies where the balustrades had been made from seamless glass, modern and look great, however, when we applied for the same type we were refused!

"How can that be," I said. However, it was discovered the neighbouring homeowners had not applied for consent and were in fact contravening regs. Needless to say, we ended up with a simple black industrial style railings which were original in style and in keeping with the building. And, they look fine. See below.

Planning permissions and consents for Grade II listed properties.
Handrails and spindles for the balcony

Currently, we are working on a stunning home built in the late Regency period of 1834. Planning permission was granted, surprisingly, to remove some of the ornate interior architectural elements that were not original to the building but added probably 75 -100 years later. This application had to be made simultaneously; once through the council and secondly to the Grosvenor Estate.

Planning permission and removal of architectural elements
Columns no more!

We will remove these Corinthian capital columns here.

Planning consents in a Grade II listed building
Removal making way for wardrobes!

This centre section is very pretty, but not original to the date of building. We have received permission to remove it and the pilasters to the side. We will update you on our progress!

The original dumb waiter will also be removed to make way for refrigerators.

If you have any questions for me or my team, you can contact me here. I'd love to hear from you with any questions you might have.

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