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Government Historic Estates Unit

The government’s historic estate is an immensely important national asset that includes thousands of listed buildings and scheduled monuments. These range from familiar landmark buildings in Whitehall to buried archaeology in forests and rural areas across the country. It also includes areas that are protected as conservation areas, registered parks and gardens, battlefields, wreck sites and World Heritage Sites.

Who we are

The Government Historic Estates Unit (GHEU) advises government departments and other public bodies about how to look after their historic assets.

What we do

Information and guidance

GHEU monitors and undertakes research on the government historic estate and delivers its findings in the form of guidance notes, publications and seminars. This work includes:

Biennial Conservation Report on the government historic estate. If you would like a copy of this or earlier reports, please contact

GHEU conservation seminar aimed at government departments, agencies and other public bodies. For a resume of the 2014 seminar, “Heralding Historic England”, or any of our earlier seminars please contact

Conservation guidance for government departments and other public bodies, such as:

Fire Research Database. The Fire Research Database (FReD) was set up to help all those responsible in any capacity for historic buildings to share information on related fire safety matters.

For more information please contact

Planning cases

GHEU handles casework relating to planning cases for specific listed buildings and scheduled monuments under the care of government departments, agencies and other public bodies. These include the Occupied Royal Palaces and certain buildings in London, such as the Parliamentary estate and government buildings in Whitehall.

Site-specific advice

GHEU gives site-specific advice including:

  • Informal advice at an early stage on drawing up proposals for development or disposal of government historic estate.
  • Advice on proposals where there are issues of national security.
  • Technical advice on repair and conservation projects, including on the selection of specialist conservation consultants and the drafting of management and conservation plans.
  • Monitoring the condition of buildings at risk and working with departments to find solutions.

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