Two women carrying out survey in street
© Historic England
© Historic England

Who Do I Contact About Making Changes?

This page describes the key points of contact if you are thinking of making changes to your home. It explains the role of local authorities and Historic England in relation to older homes, and provides contact details for other sources of advice.

More information on the type of consent you might need if you want to make changes can be found on What Permission Might I Need?.

Your local authority

The planning department of your local authority decides whether to grant planning permission or listed building consent for proposed work.

They can provide advice before and during the application process. They should be your first port of call if you wish to go ahead with making changes to your home.

If you are thinking about making changes our section on common types of work, such as altering windows or adding a conservatory, provides useful tips about what to consider and whether you are likely to need permission.

You will also find information on repair work in our section on looking after your home, and on energy efficiency measures such as solar panels in our section on saving energy.

To find details for your local planning authority, visit the Government Planning Portal.

Conservation Officer

Most local authorities employ a conservation officer, who offers expert advice on applications and other matters relating to historic buildings and areas. They are an extremely useful point of contact if you own an older home.

They will be able to advise you on a range of matters, including whether you will need extra consent for planned work, and what kind of work might be most appropriate for your house and its setting.

When considering work to your home, it is advisable to discuss your proposals with the local planning authority and/or the conservation officer at the earliest opportunity. They can be reached by contacting your local authority.

County Archaeologist

County archaeologists advise local planning authorities on the archaeological implications of development proposals.

If you think your work might affect archaeology on your land, we recommend you consult the local planning authority's 
archaeological adviser to discuss how these should be dealt with.

It is always advisable to consult them at an early stage of developing your proposals.

When Historic England is consulted

We at Historic England don’t usually work with individual owners directly, as decision-making power ultimately resides with the local authority. Owners should therefore contact the local planning authority in the first instance.

We are consulted by local authorities on certain planning or listed building applications. Broadly, these relate to proposals for Grade I and II* listed buildings and the most serious changes to Grade II listed buildings.

We may also offer advice on any matter affecting the historic environment at the special request of local authorities, or where we feel our particular area of expertise may help in decision making.

Other sources of advice

There are a number of other useful sources of advice if you are thinking about making changes to your older home.

National Amenity Societies

These are specialist organisations that have expertise on historic buildings of particular types or periods. If your home (listed or not) falls within the remit of one of these societies you can contact them for specialist advice on a range of issues.

Heritage Help

A new Heritage Help advice portal has been launched by the Joint Committee of the National Amenity Societies (JCNAS), with funding from Historic England. The portal brings together expertise offered by heritage organisations and support on saving and caring for historic places.

It is aimed at local history groups and town and parish councils facing new responsibilities for the care of their historic environment under the recent Localism Act 2011, as well as individual owners of historic properties.