Alterations to a listed building which affect its special architectural or historic interest require Listed Building Consent. This control applies to inside features as well as the outside of the building and may include boundary walls or other buildings or structures within the curtilage of the property. Owners of listed buildings who carry out unauthorised alterations are liable to prosecution and Enforcement Action requiring the return of the building or features to its original appearance.
Visit our Listed Buildings Index for all the listed buildings in Hastings and St Leonards.
What is a Listed Building?
When a building is described as 'listed' it means that it is included on a list of buildings which are considered to be of sufficient historic or architectural interest to merit special protection.
Most of the country has been surveyed at least once since listing started in 1947. The list for the Borough of Hastings mainly dates from 1976, but a few properties were listed as early as 1951. Copies of the list for Hastings Borough Council can be viewed on the Historic England website, at the offices of the Conservation and Design Team at Muriel Matters House or the Library at Brassey Institute, 13 Claremont, Hastings TN34 1HE.
While these lists are reasonably comprehensive, buildings which have been missed occasionally come to light. In these cases the Local Authority (or any interested party) can ask Historic England to 'spot list' the building to give it the same status as a listed building.
Meanwhile, if there is an immediate threat to the building, the Council can serve a building preservation notice, which protects the building until its worthiness has been checked by Historic England.
Some structures which would not normally be considered to be buildings can also be listed eg. walls, telephone kiosks, lamp posts, statues and pavements.
If your property is listed you will receive a statutory notification from the local planning authority.
Grade I buildings are of exceptional interest, sometimes considered to be internationally important. Just 2.5% of listed buildings are Grade I. The local example is Hastings Castle.
Grade II* buildings are particularly important buildings of more than special interest. 5.5% of listed buildings are Grade II*. A local example is Pelham Crescent.
Grade II buildings are nationally important and of special interest. 92% of all listed buildings are in this class and it is the most likely grade of listing for a home owner.
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. The criteria become tighter with time, so that post-1945 buildings have to be exceptionally important to be listed. A building has normally to be over 30 years old to be eligible for listing.
There are some 374,081 listed building nationally (an entry can sometimes include more than one building - such as a terrace). Hastings has 567 entries, making a total of around 933 individual properties or features.
Each entry has a brief description of the building(s) or feature(s) so that they can be clearly identified. Since 2001 some listing descriptions have been extended to include a description of the interior where access has been gained.
However brief the description, 'listing' protects the whole building including its interior, together with any object or structure within the curtilage of the listed building which dates from before 01 July 1948.
Visit www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/ for further advice.
Anyone can apply to have a building listed and the on-line form for applications to list a building can also be used to amend existing designations or to de-designate an asset.
Owning a Listed Building
Listed buildings form an important part of our national heritage, and owners, whilst enjoying the benefits of living in such architecturally and historically interesting surroundings, should see themselves as custodians, responsible for looking after the building for future generations. Repairs and maintenance should therefore be carried out on a regular basis.
It is not the purpose of the legislation to make it impossible to alter a listed building - rather to ensure that care will be taken over decisions affecting its future, that any alterations respect the particular character and interest of the building and that the case for its preservation is considered when determining the merits of any redevelopment proposals. However, it is important that historic features such as original joinery, fireplaces, plaster work and panelling are retained, and that the work is carefully detailed to marry-in with the existing building.
Extensions to listed buildings may be acceptable, but they must be very carefully designed, and subservient to the character of the original building.
Potential owners are advised to consider the suitability of the existing building for their purposes before they buy it, or alternatively consider an application to the Local Planning Authority for their required alterations prior to purchase to avoid possible disappointment should their proposals be rejected.
Do you need consent?
Each building is different and so there are no sweeping rules for what you can or can't do without consent. Many buildings are very flexible but consent is needed for anything that might risk detracting from what makes that building special. A Heritage Statement should always be submitted with applications for Listed Building Consent. This will help you to consider heritage assets when considering how to make alterations to your home or develop your site. It will also provide us with important information needed to assess the application. Heritage Statement Template.
Listed status covers a whole building, inside and out. Common works requiring consent might include the replacement of windows or doors, knocking down internal walls, painting over brickwork or altering fireplaces. It's always advisable to take the advice of the conservation officer to get a better idea about what it means for you.
Listed building consent will be in addition to any planning permission you need, although for most owners applications for both can be considered together (listed building consent applications are free). Consent is required for all extensions, demolition and alterations, whether internal or external.
Applications for listed building consent which will affect Grade I and II* buildings and total demolition or substantially all of an external elevation or interior of any listed building are referred to the Department for Culture Media and Sport who will consult with Historic England.
It is a criminal offence under section 9 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 for owners or occupants of listed buildings to carry out work without permission. Enforcement action, to reinstate the building to its original appearance can follow. It is important, therefore, that before carrying out any work on a listed building you contact the Planning Department.
You should also consider the appointment of a suitably qualified professional adviser, such as an architect or surveyor who has experience in listed buildings and who can prepare drawings and a specification for you - this is particularly important if the work involved is complicated and requires specialist experience, and may save you money in the long run.
The application drawings should consist of existing and proposed plans, sections and elevations with details of specific items such as new joinery etc. as deemed necessary. Development Control, who determine applications, will consult with the Conservation and Design Team on any applications received. The Conservation Officer will use their specialist knowledge to assist the planning officer and will also take into account Planning Policy Statement 5 'Planning for the Historic Environment' when responding to a consultation.
Repairs to Listed Buildings
Regular inspection and maintenance will help keep a building in satisfactory condition, preventing or reducing the need for repair and deferring the need for major and expensive work. For example, timber sash windows can be repaired by piecing-in new timber sections, rather than replacing the whole window, and rotten doors can be repaired in the same way. Repairs do not usually require consent if they are carried out to match strictly the original materials and details.