Interior of chemist shop with original drawers and shelves
Former Chemist Shop on Lowestoft High Street. The mid-Victorian former chemist shop is a rare survival. © Historic England DP232183 Grade II 1462138
Former Chemist Shop on Lowestoft High Street. The mid-Victorian former chemist shop is a rare survival. © Historic England DP232183 Grade II 1462138

Listed Buildings

Listing marks and celebrates a building's special architectural and historic interest, and also brings it under the consideration of the planning system, so that it can be protected for future generations.

The older a building is, and the fewer the surviving examples of its kind, the more likely it is to be listed.

The general principles are that all buildings built before 1700 which survive in anything like their original condition are likely to be listed, as are most buildings built between 1700 and 1850. Particularly careful selection is required for buildings from the period after 1945. Buildings less than 30 years old are not normally considered to be of special architectural or historic interest because they have yet to stand the test of time.

How does the listing process work?

There are two main routes to listing:

  1. Anyone can nominate a building to be listed and
  2. We have our own strategic programme of listing priorities

In both cases we make a recommendation to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) based on Principles of selection for listed buildings and they make the final decision as whether a site should be listed or not.

How do I find out if a property is listed?

The National Heritage List for England (NHLE) contains details of all listed buildings in England. To find out if a property is listed just search The List.

How are listed buildings graded?

  • Grade I buildings are of exceptional interest, only 2.5% of listed buildings are Grade I
  • Grade II* buildings are particularly important buildings of more than special interest; 5.8% of listed buildings are Grade II*
  • Grade II buildings are of special interest; 91.7% of all listed buildings are in this class and it is the most likely grade of listing for a home owner.

Surprisingly the total number of listed buildings is not known, as one single entry on the National Heritage List for England (NHLE) can sometimes cover a number of individual units, such as a row of terraced houses. However, we estimate that there are around 500,000 listed buildings on the NHLE.

How will listing affect me?

Listing is not a preservation order, preventing change. It does not freeze a building in time, it simply means that listed building consent must be applied for in order to make any changes to that building which might affect its special interest.

More about living in a listed building

What can I do with my listed building?

Listed buildings are to be enjoyed and used, like any other building. Listed buildings can be altered, extended and sometimes even demolished within government planning guidance. The local authority uses listed building consent to make decisions that balance the site's historic significance against other issues, such as its function, condition or viability.

More about making changes to listed buildings

Find out about grants and how to look after an older home

Listing Helpdesk