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What Is a Heritage Listed Building?

21st November 2017 by in category blog tagged as , , , , , with 0 and 6

heritage buildingA listed building is a building that has been placed on one of the four national lists of historic buildings in the UK. There are separate lists of buildings in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales, and England, and together they contain over 40, 000 different buildings of great historical interested. In Northern Ireland, the term ‘protected structure’ is often used instead of ‘listed building’.

Why are buildings listed in the UK?

Buildings are listed to help with what is termed ‘heritage protection’, i.e. the preservation of cultural and architectural heritage in the British Isles. Listed buildings are protected in Scotland, Wales, and England by the 1947 Town And Country Planning Acts and in Northern Ireland by the 1972 Planning Order. The aim of these pieces of legislation is to preserve historically important buildings in as good a condition as possible. Legal limitations are placed on the uses to which listed buildings can be put, and on the types of materials that can be used to repair and maintain them. Regular repair and maintenance is often a legal requirement, and additional funds are regularly made available for the upkeep of listed buildings throughout the UK. Usually, the owners of a listed building will not be able to substantially alter or demolish that building.

An explanation of the Grades of listed buildings

There are three grades of listed buildings in the UK: Grade I, Grade II and Grade III. Grade I buildings are those that are designated as having the most substantial interest in terms of heritage, whilst Grade II buildings are the next rung down on the ladder. Finally, Grade III listed buildings are buildings that are designated as being of ‘special interest’ from a heritage perspective. Usually, it will be expected that more stringent rules apply to the preservation of Grade I listed buildings than to Grade III listed buildings.

How do the authorities decide whether or not a building is to be listed?

There are five key criteria that need to be met here. First of all, the building must be significantly old to have accrued a substantial amount of value as a piece of living heritage. Secondly, it must be a relatively rare example of a particular type of building because this makes preserving it all the more urgent. Thirdly, it must have aesthetic merits, and fourthly it must have some degree of national interest as a site of cultural importance in Britain. The fifth criterion comes into play whenever there are several similar buildings in existence but only one or two of them can be listed: this criterion is that the building is the best example of its kind.

What types of buildings can be listed?

A listed building can be anything from an ancient cathedral to a country manor, and from a fortified castle to an historic barn built by master masons. Cumbria Roofing have worked on numerous types of buildings and specialise in Heritage roofing services. Check out our portfolio for examples and contact us with any queries on 01946 823300 or email

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