A listed house is a home that has been placed on the ‘Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest’. Listed buildings began being designated after WW2 to protect buildings that were of special architectural interest after many were destroyed by bombing.
Listed Houses are designated into different ‘grades’ of building depending on their historical significance. Grade I listed houses are of exceptional historical interest but only 2.5% of listed buildings are within this grade. Grade II* listed houses are of particularly important interest and make up about 5.5% of the total listed buildings. A Grade II listed building is the most likely designation for a house making up 92% of the listed buildings within the UK.
Historic England, who currently manage the list of listed houses, states that a listed building status is not a preservation order and is not intended to freeze a building in time but ensures that any alterations made to these historically important buildings are considered carefully.
Any extensions to a listed house will require listed building consent as well as planning permissions. If the listed building is in a conservation area are you might also need Conservation Area Consent as well.
You apply for these planning consents through your local planning authority but it is widely advised that you go through a pre-application process first to gauge your local planning authorities opinion on what would pass through planning. Extensions to listed homes with an architect involved are significantly more likely to be taken seriously and gain planning permission that those without.
Extension Designs to Listed Homes
When approaching the design of an extension to a listed house you have two basic options; either design something drastically different to the original home design or pay tribute to it. English Heritage and Historic England who manage listed buildings within England actually prefer contemporary extension designs to listed homes. They argue that it can more clearly maintain the integrity and interpretation of the original building.
But budget constraints on local planning authorities often mean that planning officials are stretched and short on time, dismissing dramatic or contemporary extension designs off hand. Again, an experienced architect can assist here by negotiating with planning officials or submitting a historical building study with the planning application to show that the full effect of the new extension has been considered as well as arguments as to why the new extension will enhance the listed building.
When looking to extend a listed home it is best to consult both your local planning authority and an architect. It is normally preferred that extensions or additions to a listed property be reversible which is why glass extensions are so often used, but that doesn’t mean a well thought out solid extension will not pass planning.
You can also read this article on the IQ Glass Blog about how to add a glass extension to a listed home for additional information