A listed building is a building that is of special architectural or historic interest. Buildings are listed in order to identify and protect the nation’s architectural heritage. Listed buildings can include telephone and letter boxes, milestones, windmills, watermills, farmhouses, town houses, military structures, bridges, walls and churches. There are approximately 2,700 listed buildings in the Suffolk Coastal district, 59 of which are Grade I quality.
You can search on The National Heritage List for England to find out if your property is listed and you can view the location of listed buildings in the Suffolk Coastal district by querying our online geographical information system (GIS).
Listed buildings are protected by the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 which is designed to ensure that such buildings are properly protected from neglect, inappropriate alteration, extension or demolition. All of a building is listed, including its interior and any object or structure fixed to the building or sited within its curtilage that is older than 1 July 1948.
Suffolk Coastal is responsible for ensuring that listed buildings are properly protected and for taking enforcement action when appropriate.
The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport is responsible for compiling the statutory list of buildings of special architectural or historic interest. Historic England is responsible for providing expert advice on which buildings meet the criteria for listing, and for administering the process.
Suffolk Coastal holds a copy of the statutory list which includes a general description of the building and occasionally a guide to some of the important features of the property. It is a general misconception that only the items identified in the description are listed.
Anyone can apply to Historic England for a building to be listed. If you wish to have a building considered, you will find an online application form and guidance on the Historic England website.
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.
Further information can be found on these websites:
Listed building consent is required for any work that affects the character of the building including alterations, extensions and demolition. It is a criminal offence to carry out unauthorised work to a listed building.
If unauthorised work has taken place to a listed building an enforcement notice can be served. This may require the work to be remedied or reversed.
Repairs that do not alter the character of a listed building do not require consent; such as splicing in a new section of timber to a window or replacing a section of guttering. The work should match the existing exactly in all respects. Replacing a window or other architectural feature and sandblasting finishes would in most cases require consent.
An application for listed building consent must contain sufficient information to identify the building and include scaled plans and specifications that properly describe the work proposed.
The following guidance leaflets are available:
If reasonable repairs are not carried out to preserve a listed building the local authority can serve the owner with a repairs notice. This will identify the work required to be carried out and the time period in which it is to be completed. Failure to comply can result in compulsory purchase by the authority.
Grade I and II* buildings and Scheduled Ancient Monuments may qualify for grant aid from Historic England, especially if they appear on the English Heritage Buildings at Risk Register.
Historic buildings which are known to be ‘at risk' through neglect and decay, or vulnerable to becoming so, are added to a Buildings at Risk register.
The national Heritage at Risk register, containing listed buildings of the higher grades, I and II*, is published by Historic England.
A county-wide Buildings at Risk register is produced by the Suffolk local planning authorities. It includes the same buildings as the national list plus those of grade II. Follow this link to see Suffolk Coastal's Buildings at Risk register entries.