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Alice H
Alice H, Solicitor/Partner
Category: Law
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Experience:  Partner in national law firm
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Hi, I own a listed building, several years ago a previous

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I own a listed building, several years ago a previous owner carved up the building with stud walls to create separate apartments. We want to remove these and reopen 2 original doorways to restore the original layout of the building.

Section 7 of the Planning (Listed Building and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (LBCA Act) says that, subject to the following provisions of the Act, no person shall execute or cause to be executed any works for the demolition of a listed building or for its alteration or extension in any manner which would affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest, unless the works are authorised.

Our local planning office want us to apply for listed buildings consent. We do not want to spend any of our limited budget employing and architect, however previous applications (for a garden wall and gate) have been extremely stressful with them returning our drawings several times before being satisfied with the application. I do not want to have to repeat this process again.

The above legislation seems to imply, to me, that, as the work we are doing is actually restoring the buildings original layout (therefore not affecting its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest), we will not be contravening section 7 therefore do not need the consent?

I would be really grateful for any advice on this.



My name isXXXXX and I'm happy to help with your question today.


Looking at the P(LBCA)A 1990 it refers to 'ANY' works for alteration or extension.


On a strict interpretation of the word 'ANY' this would include 'ANY' work to restore the building to its original state.


Unfortunately,failure to comply with s.7 is a criminal offence carrying sentences of up to 2 years imprisonment.


I hope this helps. Happy to discuss further.



Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Alex,


Thanks for your answer, its the 2nd half of that sentence that I am querying, as it is any works 'which would affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest'


My argument is that the works we are doing will not affect its character as a building of special architectural interest is it is only recent (around 7 years ago) alteration works that we are undoing. Surely if the walls (stud) that we are removing are post the building being listed they cannot be covered by the listing?







I understand your concern. Restoration is a bit of a grey area but having looked at the Planning Policy Statement (Planning Portal PPS5: I think the following guidance will assist you:


Restoration General points

158. Restoration of a listed building requires its alteration and is almost always likely to need listed building consent and may require planning permission. The local planning authority will be able to advise potential applicants.

159. Restoration may range from small-scale work to reinstate missing elements of decoration, such as the reinstatement of sections of ornamental plasterwork to a known design, to large schemes to restore the former appearance of buildings with the addition of major missing elements such as a missing wing. Previous repairs may be historically important, and may provide useful information about the structure of the building, as will the recording of any features revealed by the work. New work can be distinguished by discreet dating or other subtle means. Overt methods of distinction, such as tooling of stonework, setting back a new face from the old, or other similar techniques, are unlikely to be sympathetic.

160. Restoration is likely to be acceptable if:

1. The significance of the elements that would be restored decisively outweigh the significance of those that would be lost.

2. The work proposed is justified by compelling evidence of the evolution of the heritage asset, and is executed in accordance with that evidence.

3. The form in which the heritage asset currently exists is not the result of a historically-significant event.

4. The work proposed respects previous forms of the heritage asset.

5. No archaeological interest is lost if the restoration work could later be confused with the original fabric.

6. The maintenance implications of the proposed restoration are considered to be sustainable.

161. Restoration works are those that are intended to reveal or recover something of significance that has been eroded, obscured or previously removed. In some cases, restoration can thus be said to enhance significance. However, additions and changes in response to the changing needs of owners and occupants over time may themselves be a key part of the asset’s significance.

162. In determining whether restoration is appropriate following catastrophic damage (e.g. from fire or flood) the practicability of restoration should be established by an assessment of remaining significance. Where the significance relates to a design concept or a particular event rather than held directly in the original fabric of the asset, restoration or replication is more likely to be acceptable.


It seems to me that para. 161 is the most compelling point in your case.

Here is a link to the Planning Portal guidance for your reference:

I hope this helps.

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