Architecture
29/Sep/2022
6 minutes

How To Get Approved For Planning Permission For Your Listed Home

If you’re the proud owner of a beautiful listed home and hope to carry out renovation work, this is an important topic for you. Gaining local planning permission for a listed home can be a long, complex process, however, with the right advice to follow it can be made far simpler.

In this short guide, we share some of our expert insights on how best to get approved for listed building planning permission and why it’s imperative to follow the correct steps. Before we begin, you should know that by not gaining planning persmission for a listed building you own and carrying out work anyway, is a criminal offence in the U.K.

Whether your property is grade i, grade ii, or grade ii* listed, the possibility of gaining planning permission is very real. Let’s get started on the topic with some particularly important checklist pointers.

Research Your Local Area First

Depending on where your listed home is located, you may find that there are several listed homes in the area that have successfully been granted planning permission.

The Historic England website is a good place to begin, it’ll give you an idea of the listed buildings in your immediate geographical vicinity.

We also advise checking the local council planning portal to review previous listed building architectural projects in the area, and which architectural designers worked on them.

Choose An Architectural Designer Mindfully

It is always better to work with a local architectural designer who has previously helped homeowners in the same area. Here are some tips to help you find an architectural designer that is right for you and will increase your chances of gaining local planning permission:

Make sure the architectural designer has good knowledge of listed buildings and can demonstrate this;

Ensure that they have previous happy clients that can vouch for their work;

Be sure to brief them and see if they’re asking the right questions – an interested and good architectural designer will always ask questions to get to know your design vision!

By working with an architectural designer who specialises in listed buildings and you can trust and communicate well with, you’ll be in a better position to gain planning permission as all of the necessary paperwork and plans will be in place clearly.

Architect working on an architectural plan

Contact And Befriend The Local Conservation Officer

As one of the most important contacts for a person who owns or is thinking of owning a listed building, the conservation officer is responsible for making sure that listed buildings are preserved properly.

Belonging to the local council, conservation officers will also be the professional that grants or declines your planning permission application.

If you gain listed building consent from the conservation officer to alter your listed property, the officer is likely to provide advice on what materials to use for preservation purposes. They can also ask that repairs made to the property follow specific techniques, all of which fall under ‘listed building consent’.

Get into their good books by showing a genuine interest in their role and the work they do.

You can do this by including them in initial talks, alongside other professionals, and ensuring them through conversation that you have the property’s protection in mind despite wanting to renovate.

Be Thorough In Your Planning Permission Application

Less is always more, except in the case of planning permission applications. We encourage our clients to include as much information as possible about their proposed renovation plans when applying for planning permission.

Our input as designers is just a small portion of the information to be provided, but it’s always best to be thorough.

Be clear on the materials and construction techniques to be used as a basis but elaborate where needed. You should be able to highlight why the proposed changes to the property are going to be beneficial and how the property will look as a final result. This brings us to the next topic…

Respect The Original Character of The House

Listed homes are listed due to their historic interest and renovations can largely impact a historical environment of a building.

To gain permitted development rights it is important that you are respectful of the property’s original character and demonstrate your desire to protect it for future generations.

Obtaining planning permission can be made more complicated when there is the possibility of damage to a home’s original fabric.

Therefore, we advise that in your planning permission application you explain the types of construction approaches to be used and how they will not be detrimental to the listed building.

One of the main reasons why listed homes are protected is because of their special architectural features. To diminish them would be proving that you are not respectful and not interested in the historic significance of such buildings.

Special architectural features of a brick home

Don’t Be Afraid To Use Modern Materials For Listed Buildings

Our final point is an interesting one and perhaps surprising. Whilst it is a conservation officer’s duty to ensure the history of a listed property is intact and protected, you may find them to actually be in favour of the use of more modern materials.

For example, an extension to a listed home is likely to be approved if the architecture is complementary to the original property but uses contemporary materials.

Some modern aspects are favoured by the LPA including the use of modern, durable materials across rooms such as kitchens and bathrooms. With this said, it’s still crucial to consider the historic environment of the listed building and its original character to see what is feasible.

Consider Reversibility

Finally, you should definitely think about reversibility. If works are carried out to a listed building that is not in line with what was planned originally, a conservation officer will instruct reversing the building to its original condition.

That’s why when you’re planning for an extension to a listed building, or any sort of renovation work, reversibility should be at the forefront of your mind. Of course, this goes against the very notion of making alterations but you’ll have far higher odds of keeping your local authority happy.

Our Design Process For Listed And Heritage Buildings

We’re extremely fortunate to work across many listed heritage buildings with each being completely unique. Our complete approach encompasses specialist skills and careful planning to ensure our clients’ a result they are proud of. In the case of preserving and protecting listed homes, a specific step-by-step plan must be put into place.

Whist listed buildings can pose many challenges to both the owners and professionals working on their renovation, the end result is always incredibly rewarding. The merging of old and new to create a unique piece of architecture is something you’ll cherish calling home.

Contact our specialist team of architectural designers to learn more about our listed buildings design process.

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