What is a listed building?

A Listed Building is a building or structure which is included in a list of buildings of special architectural or historic interest. Listing acknowledges the building’s special interest and also helps us understand our shared history. The lists are registers which record the best National and Regional Buildings and are the responsibility of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport.

All types of buildings and structures are listed, from civic buildings to ordinary cottages, bridges, walls, milestones, stocks, telephone boxes and lampposts may even be listed. Not all the items on the lists are beautiful or attractive – some are included purely for their historical value and associations.

Why are buildings Listed?

Buildings are listed to ensure that their special interest is considered before decisions on their future are made.

This does not mean that the building and its surroundings must be preserved intact at all costs. What it does mean is that changes will only be permitted if they respect the particular character and interest of the building and its setting.

How are buildings Listed?

Most buildings have been selected by architectural experts supervised by Historic England, as part of a comprehensive national survey of Listed Buildings. The latest wide scale survey took place in the 1980s, so the lists in Bradford are largely up to date. Sometimes it is necessary to add individual buildings to the list, which may have been overlooked during the survey. These buildings are ‘spot listed’.

All listed properties are judged against a set of national standards and criteria as follows:

  • Architectural interest - for example buildings which have important architectural design, decoration or craftsmanship, or examples of particular building types, plan forms and construction techniques. 
  • Historical interest - buildings which show aspects of the nation’s social, economic, cultural or military history, for example Wool Exchange. 
  • Close historical associations - with nationally important people or events, for example Brontë Parsonage. 
  • Group value - where buildings form an important architectural group or a good example of planning, for example Saltaire.

The older and more rare a building, the more likely it is to have historical interest, so all buildings built before 1700 which survive in anything like their original condition are listed. Most buildings built between 1700 and 1840 are also listed but are subject to more rigorous selection. After 1840, because more buildings of this period survive and because more were built, only those of definite quality and character or which are particularly rare, are listed. Listing is even more selective on buildings constructed after 1914, and buildings less than 30 years old are only listed if they are of outstanding quality or under threat. Those less than 10 years old cannot be listed.

It must be remembered that buildings are not listed by the Council. Anybody can request that a building is considered for listing. Requests are made to Historic England for consideration. They undertake an assessment of the building before making a recommendation to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport decides which buildings should be included on the lists. You can find out whether a building is listed by searching the National Heritage List for England or by contacting the Council’s Landscape, Design and Conservation Team.

What are the grades of Listed Buildings?

There are three grades of Listed Buildings based upon their relative importance:

Grade I

Buildings of exceptional importance (in the Bradford district only 0.4% of all Listed Buildings are Grade I). Examples in the district include:

  • City Hall Bradford
  • Five Rise Locks Bingley
  • Haworth Parsonage Haworth
  • Upper Headley Hall Farm and Barn Thornton
  • Saltaire Congregational Church Saltaire
  • Wool Exchange Bradford

Grade II*

Buildings which are particularly important, these are often good quality buildings in their original conditions (2% of all Listed Buildings). Examples in the district include:

  • Manningham Mills Bradford
  • 7-10 Chapel Fold Wibsey
  • Ireland Bridge Bingley
  • Heathcote Ilkley
  • Ponden Hall Stanbury

Grade II

Buildings of special interest which warrant preservation (97.6% of all Listed Buildings).

How much of a building is listed?

Buildings are listed in their entirety; there is no such thing as a listed facade or interior. Everything at the address is listed, including boundary walls, gates etc and most outbuildings.

Whatever the grade of the building, there is no distinction between the interior or exterior. Any objects or structures fixed to a listed building or included within the curtilage of the building which have formed part of the land since before 1948 are included in the listing including boundary walls and gates. All list entries include a description of the building. The description is intended to aid identification; it is not intended to provide a comprehensive record of all features of importance. Just because a feature is not mentioned in the entry it does not mean the feature is not of interest or it can be removed or altered without consent. This is especially relevant for internal features of interest.

How do I find out if a building is listed?

Details of all listed buildings in the Bradford District can be found on the Listed Buildings descriptions page. If a building is listed, normally everything at that address is listed, including the boundary walls, outbuildings as well as the main building. Listing covers interiors as well as exteriors.

What does it mean to own or occupy a Listed Building?

There are advantages and disadvantages in owning or occupying a Listed Building. People generally value old buildings. A well maintained Listed Building may appreciate in value more than other comparable buildings. In most cases maintaining a Listed Building should not be excessively costly. The main disadvantage is your lack of freedom to do exactly as you want with your buildings.

If you wish to demolish alter or extend a Listed Building either internally or externally in a way that affects its character you must apply for Listed Building Consent from the Council. Even relatively minor works such as painting, repairs and the removal of gateposts and walls may affect the character of a listed building. More information about the requirement for listed building consent can be found on the Do I Need Listed Building Consent page.

It is a criminal offence to demolish, alter or extend a listed building in any way which would affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest, unless the changes are authorised by listed building consent from the Council before any work takes place. The Council has responsibility for deciding if any of the proposed works will affect the character of the building so it is important to contact us before carrying out works or arranging for contractors to start work.

What happens if your listed building falls into disrepair?

As an owner of a Listed Building you have an interest to keep it in a good state of repair and well maintained.

The Council may serve a Repairs Notice, but these are used as a last resort. In the first instance the Council will encourage you to carry out the necessary maintenance work. If the property still remains neglected the Council may then serve a Repairs Notice which will specify the work you must do to ensure that the building is kept in a good state of repair. If you do not do the work within a specified period the Council can compulsorily acquire the property.

If the building is unoccupied, the Council can serve an Urgent Works Notice and carry out the work itself to make the property wind and weather-proof. It can then recover the costs from the owner, subject to the owner’s financial situation.

Is there any financial help available?

The fact that a building is listed does not imply that a grant is available for its repair or restoration. Grants from Historic England may be available for the repair of Grade I or II* Listed Buildings, but for the majority of Listed Buildings in Bradford, there are no grants available.

Works to listed buildings may be subject to VAT relief or incentives however the current rules are subject to change from October 2012. Please contact your HM Revenue & Customs for further information.