How can my building get listed?

English Heritage - LogoAnyone can apply to have a building listed by English Heritage, who will examine every case in detail and put together a recommendation for the secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport (who has the final decision). Other experts may be consulted during the decision making process, and ultimately the building will either be included in the list of buildings of “special architectural or historical interest” or it won’t. When we say that anyone can apply, we mean anyone. You do not have to own or even live in a house that you are submitting for consideration, but being submitted for consideration does not mean that a property will definitely be listed.

Will I always be notified and consulted should someone else submit my property for consideration?

The short answer is “no”. But to be more concise; English Heritage claim that they try to notify/consult owners in the “vast majority” of cases, but if they think your property is at immediate risk from damage or demolition then they may not. This means that they will not notify you or consult you whether you are a private individual, a company or a local authority, but will take immediate action to protect the property before it comes to harm.

Will a prospective listed property always be visited by English Heritage?

Almost always, yes; because visiting a building is invaluable to gathering information about it. If and when English Heritage wants to make a visit to a property under consideration, they will first contact the owner to make arrangements. Where applications made include a great deal of detail a visit may be deemed unnecessary, while in situations where the property is in jeopardy the visit may very well be skipped in order to expedite the process.

Can I find out who put my building forward for listing?

Do you want to send them a thank you note, or have harsh words? In either case, you might be able to request the information under the Freedom of Information Act, but English Heritage states that in the case of private individuals they will first check to see if they were happy for the information to be released. Where an organisation or public body made the application, no protections apply and the information would be released ASAP.

How would listing affect me?

Listed buildings can still be altered, extended and demolished within government planning guidance, though you are required to apply for Listed Building Consent before making changes that might affect the property’s architectural or historical significance. You may be able to get grant funding to help maintain a listed property and decisions about its function, condition or viability will be balanced against the weighting of its historical significance.

Listed buildings might struggle to find adequate listed buildings insurance from standard insurance providers. Because a listed building will typically be older or of non-standard construction it will be perceived as either being at an elevated risk of undergoing damage or being overly expensive to repair/rebuild when damage takes place. Whether this perception is accurate or not, home insurance for listed buildings is vital if harder to come by. With HomeProtect you can get a competitive online quote for listed building insurance, or even Grade 2 listed buildings insurance when required.

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Windmills and Home Insurance

When we mention windmills these days, it is likely that your first thoughts might be of the gigantic wind-farm turbines currently operating (or under construction) across Britain and in various off-shore locations around us. Though these wind harvesting behemoths are a principle part of our plans to move toward renewable energy and reduce our national carbon footprint, feelings about them remain conflicted and many are against having them anywhere near their homes. It makes you wonder whether millers over nine hundred years ago met the same adversity when they wanted to develop a more efficient way of grinding flour. Windmills in the UK date back as far as the 12th century, with many still existing today (though few survive as actual functioning mills). Many windmills have been saved from destruction by being converted into fantastic character-filled homes, while only a few have been preserved in working condition.

Though you are unlikely to find a windmill today that has not been already renovated to some extent, because many were originally renovated some time ago, you may be able to find one that needs to be renovated again. Taking this into account, you should know that the maintenance costs of managing a windmill home are likely to be considerably higher than other types of property. You will also need to be aware that most windmills are likely to enjoy some level of listed status, so any renovation work might need to be agreed with relevant authorities before you begin. In most cases, you will be permitted to keep a windmill in a reasonable state (in fact you might be required to), but adding extensions or modifying rooms are less likely to be allowed. You should always do any required research before committing yourself to buy in any situation, but especially so with windmills.

When considering buying a windmill, you really do need to consider maintenance and restoration costs alongside any asking price. Not only that, but you need to think about whether all of the utilities you require are available. When a mill is miles from the nearest drainage, water and power facilities, the cost to connect it to the suppliers can be immense. You also need to worry about things like structural integrity, particularly with older properties (just because they have stood for hundreds of years, doesn’t mean they’ll stand forever. Have the site fully surveyed before you get yourself into something you can’t handle. A windmill maybe a beautiful place to live, but if it is in a poor state of repair then you need to be realistic about your ability to put it right. You need to be able to get a mortgage, which is likely to be released in stages if you need to undertake renovations, and in order to get finance you will need to have adequate listed buildings insurance.

Home insurance for listed buildings might be harder to come by than insurance for regular properties, particularly if renovations are required (and especially if the building in question is as unique as a windmill). Listed buildings of non-standard construction and older properties are costly to repair/rebuild when damaged, and damage is more likely to occur during renovations, so listed building insurance is all the more essential. With HomeProtect insurance you can find an online competitive quote for listed building insurance or Grade 2 listed buildings insurance as and when you need it.

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Listing Building Legislation

In England and Wales the Secretary of State has the job of granting listed status to buildings under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990. Those listed buildings that are particularly at risk from excessive decay appear on the Heritage at Risk Register. Listed buildings legislation exists to protect our nation’s architectural and historical heritage, preserving buildings of significant interest with varying levels of listed statuses. In England, the Department for Culture, Media and Sports works with English Heritage (and a few other government departments) to manage the government policy on historic buildings and heritage issues.

The Secretary of State has the last word on whether or not a building should be given listed status, but he acts under the advice of English Heritage. Devolution in Wales has transferred the listed decision to Cadw, acting on behalf of the National Assembly for Wales. Scotland’s listed buildings are controlled by Historic Scotland functioning on behalf of the Scottish Government. At present, there are a number of calls to simplify the heritage planning process in England, and they are still under consideration now. Review began over a decade ago, in 2000, where a number of papers and policy documents were produced.

Among the areas under review is the use of the system itself, as well as the criteria that are used to grant buildings listed status. The current process is pretty complicated, but has become more useable over the last decade of review and reform. In 2008 there was a draft Heritage Protection Bill put forward that may have helped considerably, gaining strong cross-party support during the pre-legislative review process, but the Bill was abandoned to make way for legislation dealing with the current economic crisis.

It is possible that the Bill will be revived and tabled for future debate, though this is not currently part of any immediate plans (at least, it is not common knowledge if it is). The draft Bill proposed that all existing lists of listed property be merged into a single online register demonstrating “what is special and why” making it more accessible to the general public. Under the proposed legislation English Heritage would be directly responsible for finding historic and architectural assets across England, opening up more avenues for public consultation and allowing more rights of appeal to be implemented to asset owners.

Listed buildings insurance might be difficult to get from a standard home insurer. Often the characteristics of listed buildings (either their age or design) make them harder to cover. Home insurance for listed buildings is harder to secure, but it is not impossible. With HomeProtect you can get an online quote for Grade 2 listed buildings insurance at a competitive price. Listed buildings insurance is an integral part of protecting our nation’s heritage, so should not be overlooked.

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