Listed buildings

Listed buildings have special historical or architectural importance and are of national interest. Buildings can be listed because of age, rarity, architectural merit, and method of construction. The purpose of listing is to protect and preserve the best examples of the country’s heritage. Historic England is responsible for maintaining the register of Listed Buildings and South Northamptonshire has over 1,800 entries, reflecting the rich heritage of the district. The owner of a listed building is responsible for ensuring buildings are kept in a good state of repair.

When a building is listed, it is listed in its entirety, which means that both the exterior and the interior are protected. In addition, historic buildings, walls and structures in land associated with the main building would also be considered as listed in most circumstances (see section on curtilage listing).

The Listed Building Register can be viewed on:

Please note that the boundaries shown are only indicative to show if a building is listed and the precise extent of listing may be different.

Making changes to a listed building

Listing gives a building statutory protection against unauthorised demolition, alteration and extension. It is a criminal offence to undertake work to a listed building without permission. The listing of a building is not intended to prevent all change but to ensure the sensitive management of change.

Any internal or external works which affect the character of the listed building will require listed building consent. Repairs should be considered as the first option in most instances and there is no need to apply for listed building consent for regular maintenance work such as re-painting windows in the same colour. The replacement of original features will only be acceptable where it is clearly justified and combined with historically sensitive design, materials and methods.

We recommend early discussion with a Conservation Officer through our pre-application service before submitting an application for work on a listed building. A listed building application should include a written statement of significance and a full explanation of what the work entails and how it may affect the importance of the building. This enables us to assess how the works may affect the special architectural or historic character of a building and could speed up your application.

Curtilage listing

Curtilage listed buildings, structures and objects have the same protection and restrictions imposed on them as a listed building. Curtilage listed buildings are typically ancillary buildings, such as barns and stables, that are located in land associated with the principal building. This is a complicated area of planning law and our decisions are guided by case law. The following tests are used to identify if a property is curtilage listed:

  • Was the structure constructed before 1st July 1948?
  • Was the structure in common ownership with the principal listed building at the time of listing?
  • Was there a functional relationship between the structures at the time of listing?

If owners are not aware of a building’s status it can cause confusion and result in unauthorised works and potential enforcement action. As we become aware of potential curtilage listed buildings, we identify them on our website site and advise the owners accordingly. It is often not clear whether a building is curtilage listed.

If you would like further guidance please contact planningheritage.snc@westnorthants.gov.uk .