Listed Buildings

Find out about Listed Building, and if additional consents are needed for any works

Listed buildings enrich Scotland’s landscape. They help to create our distinctive character and are a highly visible and accessible element of Scotland’s rich heritage. Spanning a wide range of uses and periods, together they chart a great part of the history of Scotland and contribute significantly to our sense of place.

Listing is the recognition through the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 that a building or structure is of ‘special’ interest. Historic Environment Scotland lists buildings on behalf of Scottish Ministers.

Many buildings are of interest, architecturally or historically, but when considering a building for listing this interest must be ‘special’. To merit listing the structure must meet set criteria.

There are around 2000 listed buildings or structures in Argyll and Bute, assets can be added to or taken off the list, the category of listing may also change, so this is an ever evolving process. You can check to see if a building is listed

It should be noted that everything at the statutory address is listed, listing applies to the exterior and interior of property.  Equally the listing is also likely to apply to any boundary treatments, out-buildings or other architectural features, either under the main subject of the listing or through curtilage listing. 

You should be aware that it is an offence to carry out works to a listed building without consent. This can include works such as replacement windows and doors, installing an alarm or a satellite antenna or even the painting of any part of the exterior of the building.

What is a listed building? What are the categories?

A listed building is selected based on a number of criteria, such as:

  • Design and construction
  • Historic significance
  • Links to historical figures/events
  • Age and rarity

To be listed, a building does not need to be used for its original intended purpose, so altered buildings can be listed. The categories for listing are:

  • A- Nationally, or internationally, important buildings, either due to their architectural style or history. Also includes fine, little altered examples of a particular period or style.
  • B- Buildings which hold some regional or high local importance. Examples of a particular period or style but might have been altered.
  • C- Buildings which are locally important. May have been moderately altered. Also simple or traditional buildings which are associated with buildings in category A or B, or are part of a group of buildings.

No matter which category the building falls into, an application for Listed Building Consent will be processed and considered in the same way, the same planning policies apply irrespective of category.

Do I need Planning Permission or Listed Building Consent?

In the first instance it is best to contact your local planning team (Contact details below). Our planning teams can advise on what consents are required and offer advice on planning your work.  They will also advise if it would be appropriate for you to undertake a pre-application enquiry, through which more detailed advice can be provided before an applicant enters into the full consent process.  This could save time and money for an applicant if there are clear and serious issues from the start.

Remember, Planning Permission and Listed Building Consent may not be all you need to carry out works. You may still need a building warrant. Find out more if you are unsure whether you will need this.

Mid Argyll, Kintyre and Islay: 1A Manse Brae, Lochgilphead, PA31 8RD

Oban Lorn and the Isles: Municipal Buildings, Albany Street, Oban PA34 4AW

Bute and Cowal: Milton House, Milton Avenue, Dunoon PA23 7DU

Helensburgh and Lomond: Helensburgh and Lomond Civic Centre, 38 East Clyde Street, Helensburgh G84 7PG

What requires Listed Building Consent?

Everything at the statutory address is listed, listing applies to the exterior and interior of property. It is therefore always a good idea to check with the planning office to see if listed building consent is needed before carrying out any changes to your listed building. Often even minor changes will need permission. If your proposals are likely to be more complex in assessment, it is advisable that you submit a pre-planning application, as this can speed up the final submission. Even minor changes such as stone cleaning or painting might cause irreversible damage to a listed building and so will probably need consent. A like for like repair may not need consent, however what qualifies as repair and like for like can be a contentious definition so it is always best to contact the council in the first instance to check. Remember, you might need planning permission as well as listed building consent.  Unlike planning permission, listed building consent is free to apply for. 

If you are planning works on a building which is within the curtilage of a listed building then it is likely that this will also need consent. Just because something is not mentioned in the listed building description does not mean that it is not listed. It is for the Local Authority to determine what will be defined as Curtilage Listing,

The usual tests used by Planning Authorities to determine if curtilage applies are:

  • Were the structures built before 1948?
  • Were they in the same ownership as the main subject of listing at the time of listing?
  • Do the structures clearly relate in terms of their (original) function to the main subject of the listing?
  • Are the structures still related to the main subject on the ground?

 This test is set through legislation and precedent set by past case law.

What should I submit in an application for Listed Building Consent?

An application for Listed Building Consent should include:

  • A location plan at a scale of 1:1250 or 1:2500 which should show at least two named roads, the surrounding buildings and a north point. The properties shown should be numbered or named to make sure that the exact location of the application site is clear. The application site must be clearly outlined with a red line. It should include all land that is needed to carry out the proposed development, but should typically be defined as the full curtilage of the property to which the application relates. You must fill in the appropriate certificate of ownership for the site you show as the application site. A blue line must be drawn around any other land you own, close to or adjoining the application site.
  • Block/Site plans should be produced to a scale of either 1:200 or 1:500
  • Drawings of existing and proposed – building plans, elevations, cross sections – must show your proposals to scale of 1:50 or 1:100. Please use colours to differentiate between demolition work/down takings, alterations, new work etc. so that it is clear what your proposals are.
  • Drawings of existing and proposed – architectural details, windows, doors, chimneys etc  – must show your proposals to scale of 1:10 with cross sections details as appropriate. Please use colours to differentiate between demolition work/down takings, alterations, new work etc. so that it is clear what your proposals are.
  • Detailed specification of existing and proposed materials and finishes, both inside and outside the property, as appropriate. This should include a full specification and work methods for detailed work, such as stonework, lime pointing and rendering, lead work, work to windows, work to the roof and so on. Please describe the type, colour and name of all materials you want to use.
  • Clearly titled photographs showing the site, its context and the areas of proposed change.
  • All plans must be to an appropriate metric scale and should include a scale bar. Any dimensions should be given in metres (millimetres for finer detail).
  • A Design and Access statement .

In some cases you may be asked to provide supplementary information such as:

  • Building condition survey, detailing the overall condition of the building, as well as the areas in poorest condition. 
  • Conservation plan. The plan should be proportionate to the size of the project.
  • Detailed cost plans, particularly in relation to applications for demolition and enabling development.

Can I demolish a listed building?

Applications for demolition of a listed building will rarely be granted except in exceptional circumstances.  Applicants need to show that they have made all reasonable efforts to retain listed buildings, in the majority of cases this includes demonstrating that:

  • The significance of the building and its setting is fully understood;
  • The condition of the building has been assessed by appropriate conservation professionals;
  • Repair is not economically viable;
  • Alternative sources of finance have been explored;
  • The property has been marketed for a reasonable period at a price reflecting its condition to potential restoring purchasers.  

Similar considerations apply to applications for conservation area consent to demolish an unlisted building, taking into account the contribution of the building to the character of the conservation area.

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