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Listed building consent

Many types of change to listed buildings will need special permission. This is known as listed building consent and is administered by local planning authorities.

The purpose of listed building consent is to manage change to make sure that the features which contribute to the building’s special architectural or historic interest are retained, as far as possible. These may include its form and layout, the details of its construction, including historical materials and finishes, and historical fixtures, fittings and details, both inside and outside.

This means you may need listed building consent for even relatively minor new work, such as replacing an external door, painting or repainting the exterior or interior of a listed building, or even cleaning. As a general rule, you should try and retain or reinstate historical form, fabric and detail, and respect them in any new work. Any change that would result in loss of historical form, fabric or detail should be kept to the minimum. For example, the replacement of traditional windows with UPVC windows will not normally be acceptable: they have very different characteristics from traditional windows, which mean that they are likely to be damaging to the character and appearance of the building.

You do not normally need listed building consent for routine repairs, or like-for-like repairs, but it is worth getting advice first because the criteria for like-for-like repairs can be quite exacting. You will always need listed building consent for demolition.

You will need to submit a heritage impact statement with your application for listed building consent, as well as detailed plans, so it is a good idea to get appropriate advice when preparing your proposals. Owners who take advice, gather evidence, make a well-informed heritage impact statement and submit a well-documented application are often surprised at what changes can be approved. Being sensitive and imaginative in your approach can lead to achieving your aims without compromising your building’s significance.

If the local planning authority decides to grant you listed building consent, we will normally be notified. Our role is to assess whether the local planning authority has had proper regard for the preservation of the listed building in coming to their decision, rather than comment on the merits of the proposal itself.

Managing Change to Listed Buildings in Wales explains how to apply for listed building consent, including the roles and responsibilities of owners, local planning authorities and Cadw. It should also help owners and agents take account of Cadw’s Conservation Principles for the Sustainable Management of the Historic Environment in Wales (Conservation Principles) to achieve high-quality sensitive change.

If you are in any doubt, then it is better to enquire and consult your local planning authority rather than to make mistakes which can be both hard to rectify and expensive. You could be committing a criminal offence as well.

Managing Change to Listed Buildings in Wales supplements Planning Policy Wales and Technical Advice Note 24: The Historic Environment.