Listed building enforcement

Almost all works to a listed building need to be authorised by a grant of listed building consent, whether or not they need or have been granted planning permission.

Therefore we strongly advise you to check with us before carrying out any work. Even if the works are very minor, it would be advisable to get written confirmation that the works you propose can be carried out without the need for formal consent.

Carrying out unauthorised works, that is to say where listed building consent is needed but has not been obtained, is a criminal offence.

We have produced a listed buildings prosecution policy guidance which sets out the interaction between criminal prosecutions and the listed building enforcement regime. The policy guidance is designed to ensure that everyone knows the principles we apply when carrying out our work, specifically in relation to prosecution of listed building offences, whilst being consistent with our corporate enforcement policy and local enforcement plan.

Unauthorised works

Carrying out unauthorised works to a listed building is an offence under Section 9 of the Planning (Listed Building and Conservation Areas) Act 1990. A person who is guilty of such an offence will be:

  • liable on conviction to imprisonment not exceeding 3 months or a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or both; or
  • liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 12 months or a fine or both

In deciding the amount of fine to be imposed on any person convicted, the court will take into account any financial benefit which has been gained as a result of the offence.

Prevention of further damage

Any person convicted of an offence under Section 59 of the Planning (Listed Building and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, who fails to take reasonable steps to prevent any damage resulting from the offence, will be guilty of a further offence. In such cases, the convicted person will be liable to a fine not exceeding £40 for each day on which the failure continues.

In defence, the offender will need to prove that:

  • the works were urgently necessary in the interests of health and safety or for the preservation of the building
  • it was not practical to secure the health and safety or the preservation of the building by undertaking repair work
  • the works carried out were limited to the minimum measures immediately necessary
  • notice in writing of the need for the works was sent to the local planning authority as soon as reasonably practicable