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Listing FAQs

Here you can find the answers to some commonly asked questions specifically regarding listing. For more detailed information on listing and all other types of designation please see our Designation: Frequently Asked Questions page.

Eastbourne Pier, East Sussex. Listed at Grade II*.
Eastbourne Pier, East Sussex. Opened on 13th June 1870 and completed in 1872. Designed by Eugenius Birch, the contractors Messrs Head, Wrighton and Co of Stockton on Tees. Listed at Grade II*. NHLE List Entry Number: 1353116.

How can I find out if my property is listed?

You can search on the National Heritage List for England (NHLE) to find out if your property is listed.  Alternatively you can contact your local authority, who will also be able to tell you if the area you are interested in is a conservation area. For general requests for more information, please contact

How are buildings chosen?

Buildings and structures are assessed to define their significance with the greatest care.  Many old buildings and indeed recent buildings are interesting, but listing identifies only those which are of national 'special interest'.  The main criteria used are:

  • Age and rarity: most buildings built before 1700 which survive in anything like their original condition are listed, as are most of those built between 1700 and 1840
  • Architectural interest: buildings which are nationally important for the interest of their architectural design, decoration and craftsmanship; also important examples of particular building types and techniques
  • Historic interest: this includes buildings which illustrate important aspects of the nation's social, economic, cultural or military history
  • Close historical association with nationally important people or events
  • Group value, especially where buildings are part of an important architectural or historic group or are a fine example of planning (such as squares, terraces and model villages)

The criteria become tighter with time, so that buildings built within the last 30 years have to be exceptionally important to be listed, and under threat too. A building has to be over 10 years old to be eligible for listing.

The published Principles of Selection for Listing Buildings are available to download in PDF format and provide much more information on our approach to assessing buildings and structures.

The Grand Theatre
The Grand Theatre, Blackpool. Built in 1894, by Frank Matcham. Listed at Grade II*. NHLE List Entry Number: 1280615

How will listing affect me?

Listing is a tool to identify those buildings that should be celebrated as having special architectural and historic interest, and where changes should be carefully considered. Listed buildings can be altered, extended and sometimes even demolished within government planning guidance. The local authority uses this consent process to make decisions that balance the building's architectural and historic significance against other issues such as function, condition or viability.

Listing does not freeze a building in time. It simply brings it under the consideration of the planning system, meaning that you will need to apply for listed building consent in order to make changes that will affect the special interest of your listed building. Information on making changes to listed buildings and links to grant information is available from our Your Home advice pages.


Designation Helpdesk

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