Listed buildings

What is a listed building?

A listed building is a building, object or structure that is of special architectural or historic interest.

All buildings built before 1700 - which survive in anything like their original condition - are listed.

Listed buildings are protected, which means you will need listed building consent (sometimes alongside regular planning permission) to carry out any demolition, or make any changes to its appearance.

There are three grades of listed building:

  1. Grade I buildings are buildings of exceptional interest
  2. Grade II* buildings are particularly important buildings of more than special interest
  3. Grade II buildings are buildings of special interest

For more information about listed buildings and conservation areas, please refer to our third party Heritage resources.

Find a listed building

The National Heritage List for England ('the List')  is the only official register of all listed buildings in England. You can access it online:

Search for a listed building

Buildings at risk in Suffolk

Suffolk County Council (alongside seven district councils) publish and maintain the Suffolk Register of Buildings at Risk, which details listed buildings known to either be at risk, or vulnerable to becoming so.

Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards

Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) Regulations were introduced by the government in 2018.

The regulations were introduced to:

  • improve the quality of privately rented buildings in England and Wales
  • increase the energy efficiency of the worst performing homes and buildings
  • improve the comfort and conditions in privately rented homes
  • reduce fuel poverty

in domestic privately rented properties.

Historic buildings, listed buildings and buildings within conservation areas are exempt if 'compliance with the minimum energy requirements would unacceptably alter their character or appearance'.

This is not a blanket exemption. Even if a building is protected, it may still be possible to make improvements, where the character or appearance of the building will not be altered.

Unacceptable alterations in most listed buildings would include:

  • double glazing
  • new doors and windows
  • external wall insulation
  • external boiler flues

However, there are many other, more low impact, measures which may be acceptable. It is your responsibility to make sure that any works may or may not be permitted. We recommend that you seek advice via our our pre-application advice service.

If you decide to apply for exemption, you will need to provide evidence that:

  • all recommended measures on your energy performance certificate would unacceptably alter the character or appearance of the building
  • none of the recommended measures could have been carried out to improve the energy efficiency of the building

Curtilage listed buildings

Buildings and structures within the curtilage of listed buildings may also be protected by listed building legislation. They are referred to as 'curtilage listed'.

These buildings and structures might include walls, outbuildings, backhouses and dairies.

The deciding criteria as to whether an item is classed as curtilage listed or not, is as follows:

  1. Was the building or structure erected before July 1948?
  2. Was the building or structure in the same ownership as the principal listed asset, at the time of listing?
  3. Did the building or structure have an ancillary relationship with the principal listed building, at the time of listing?

Alterations or extension to curtilage listed buildings or structures might also need listed building consent. This will be subject to their relationship with the primary listed building - which will be established before any works begin.

Contact our Heritage team before you submit an application.

Planning permission may also be needed.

Please note that linking a curtilage building to a host building will require listed building consent and planning permission.

Development within the curtilage of a listed building

The construction of new buildings, structures or enclosures within the curtilage of a listed building will need planning permission.

It will not need listed building consent (unless the proposed structure is attached to the listed building).

Please read our standing advice for minor development within the grounds of listed buildings for more information.

Internal and external alterations

Our guidance on internal alterations includes information about:

  • modernising kitchens and bathrooms
  • removing ceilings to expose beams
  • removing walls 
  • uncovering or exposing an earlier fireplace 
  • sole plate and timber-frame repairs, removal of cement render and re-rendering in lime
  • new ground floor and/or underfloor heating 
  • insect infestation
  • curing a damp problem

Our guidance on external alterations includes information about:

  • new or replacement windows
  • extensions
  • changing the external paint colour
  • dangerous chimneys
  • solar panels