Purchasing any property is complex but especially so when it is a listed building.  With over 5,500 listed buildings within Lancashire, it is not uncommon for both residential and commercial properties to be registered on the National Heritage List for England as buildings of special architectural and historic interest.

Farleys’ office at 13 Winckley Square, Preston is one such building, originally built in 1844 as the town house of renowned New Hall Lane Mill owner Paul Catterall.

So, what kinds of listed buildings there are and what obligations the owner may face?

Most buildings are listed due to their age but some are listed for their architectural importance, such as the well-publicised listing of Preston Bus Station in 2013.  Buildings pre-dating 1700 which survive in anything like their original condition are listed, as are most of those built between 1700 and 1840. More modern buildings require more careful consideration and usually have to be over 30 years old to be eligible for listing.

There are three categories of listed building:

  • 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.

While listing is not the same as a preservation order, freezing a building in time, it does mean that listed building consent must be applied for from the local authority to make any changes to that building.

Listed buildings can be altered and extended but local authorities use the listed building consent to make decisions that balance the site’s historic significance against other issues, such as its function, condition or viability.

Changes are not usually allowed to features noted in the listing and other changes can be subject to strict requirements as to the materials used.

Also, generally speaking, the older a property the more complex the legal issues affecting its title will be and the more likely there are to be unusual historical rights and easements benefitting and affecting it.  It is vital to consult a conveyancing solicitor before purchasing a listed property or to make changes to your listed property.

Farleys conveyancing solicitors have particular experience of dealing with listed buildings. To speak to an expert please call 0845 287 0939 or submit your enquiry through our online contact form.