Listed building guidance
The built heritage of Blackpool contains a rich and varied collection of sites, buildings and other features. They are often known as ‘heritage assets’. Heritage assets include designated heritage assets such as listed buildings and conservation areas, and un-designated assets identified by the local planning authority through measures like local listing.
There are around 500,000 entries on the statutory list of buildings of special architectural or historic interest. Grade I buildings are of outstanding interest, and II* are particularly important buildings of more than special interest; together they amount to 8% of all listed buildings. The remaining 92% are of special interest and are listed grade II. The National Heritage List for England can be searched here
Listed buildings in Blackpool
At present there are around 50 listed buildings and other structures in Blackpool, the majority of which are Grade II. Blackpool Tower is Grade I and a small number have a Grade II* status. The buildings are varied in type and include theatres, churches, vernacular cottages and structures such as telephone boxes and fairground rides. Blackpool’s most remarkable collection of buildings though is concerned with entertainment: Blackpool Tower and Blackpool Winter Gardens, now forming possibly the most important pair of 19th century entertainment complexes in Britain.
Purpose of this guidance
‘Listing’ brings a building more closely under the consideration of the planning system so that care can be taken when alterations or developments are being considered, and this short guidance is intended to help owners and developers through the process. Listed building consent is required for works to the interior as well as the exterior of a building, and planning permission may also be required. If the building was listed before June 2013 the list description will often be very basic, simply an aid to identify the building, but listing covers the whole building and work to any part of it will require listed building consent.
It should be noted that a structure attached to a building, such as adjoining buildings or walls, will also be covered by the listing if the structure was ancillary to the principal building at the date of listing. In addition, any pre-1948 structure that formed part of the land and was in the curtilage of the principal listed building at the date of listing and is ancillary to the principal building is considered to be part of the listing.
Paragraph 189 of the National Planning Policy Framework states that “In determining applications, local planning authorities should require an applicant to describe the significance of any heritage assets affected, including any contribution made by their setting”. Significance is more than the architectural interest of the building, although this is the primary significance in above ground structures.
It is the sum of a range of heritage values, all of which should be taken into account when assessing the impact of proposed works on a listed building. These include evidential, historical, aesthetic and communal values. More information is available on the Historic England website . The Historic Environment Record for the building should be accessed as part of this process.
Works to listed buildings
Listed building consent is not required for ‘like for like’ repairs which use the same materials and techniques as the existing fabric. However, there are no permitted development rights for listed buildings, and you should contact the Built Heritage and Conservation Team before commencing any work to a listed building, and they will advise whether consent is needed, and what information would be required in any planning and/or listed building consent application.
It is a criminal offence to undertake work to a listed building without first receiving listed building consent, with a penalty of up to 12 months imprisonment and/or a fine for undertaking unauthorised works or demolition.
Applying for listed building consent
Applications for Listed Building Consent are made to the council in a similar way to normal planning applications using a Listed Building Application form. If you also need planning permission for your proposal the two applications can be submitted together. There is no fee for the Listed Building Consent application. You can also apply for permission using the planning portal
All applications which affect listed buildings should be accompanied by a heritage statement
Pre-application discussions can help you and the council officers identify areas of concern about your proposed development so that you can give consideration to amending your proposal before the application is submitted. The advice and guidance given to you at the pre-application stage is given in good faith. However, it does not guarantee or supply a definitive undertaking as to whether your proposal is likely to be acceptable, and there is a small fee (contact the planning department for details).
What happens if consent Is refused?
If consent is refused you have six months in which to appeal to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (DCLG), or you can amend your plans based on the written advice provided, and re-apply.
Maintenance and repair of listed buildings
Regular maintenance of any building will be cheaper in the long run than an extensive repair programme. The most important thing is to stop damp getting into the building. This might be anything from periodically inspecting the roof to prevent leaks from slipped slates or tiles, to clearing gutters, repairing flashings and minor re-pointing of walls.
Basic maintenance will not normally require listed building consent but you should always check with the built heritage and conservation team before carrying out any work which requires renewal of historic fabric, for instance replacing lead flashings or repointing. In some cases a written specification will be required to ensure that the appropriate materials and techniques are being used.
Like-for-like repairs not involving any change do not need consent but they should be carried out by craftsmen experienced in working on old buildings.
Alterations and extensions
When considering altering or extending your listed building it is important that the special features which contribute to its importance are retained, and new work carefully designed using appropriate materials. Historic architectural features such as original windows, doors, roof pitch and covering etc are all important elements which, if lost or significantly altered, can devalue its architectural and historic importance.
When designing an extension for a listed building it is important that the character and setting of the building is not harmed, and that the extension relates appropriately in scale and massing. Extensions should be subservient to the main building, and the design and materials should be of a quality which will preserve or enhance the character of the main building.
If an historic style is chosen it is important that historic accuracy is used with regard to detailing, materials, colour and scale, and the link between the historic building and the new extension is clearly and sympathetically defined. If a contemporary approach is considered appropriate, a high quality of design detail and materials must be used.
The significance of a listed building derives not only from its physical presence and historic fabric but also from its setting – the surroundings in which it is experienced. Its extent is not fixed and may change as the building and its surroundings evolve.
Where the significance of a listed building has been compromised in the past by unsympathetic development affecting its setting, consideration still needs to be given to whether additional change will further detract from, or can enhance, its significance. Negative change could include severing the last link between an asset and its original setting; positive change could include the restoration of a building’s original designed landscape or the removal of structures impairing views of a building.
The contribution of setting to the significance of a listed building is often expressed by reference to views – a view being a purely visual impression obtained from, or by moving through, a particular viewing point or viewing place. The setting is likely to include a variety of views of or including that asset, and views of the surroundings from or through the asset. Further information is available on the Historic England website
Energy efficiency and listed buildings
Older houses are often thought to be cold and draughty, but they can vary greatly in their energy efficiency depending on how they are constructed and maintained. There is growing evidence that many perform better than assumed, and some outperform modern houses in terms of energy demand and comfort.
There are some simple measures you can take to improve the energy efficiency of your listed building without affecting its character.
Windows and doors
Draughts can be a major source of discomfort in older buildings, and eliminating them could make a major difference to your energy costs. About one-fifth of a home's heating is lost through windows. Most of that escapes through air gaps rather than through the glass.
Draught-proofing is one of the cheapest and least intrusive methods of cutting down on heat lost through windows and doors, and the costs can be quickly recovered by the energy savings. Research has shown that air infiltration through a sash window in good condition can be reduced by as much as 86% by adding draught-proofing, and it has the added advantage of reducing noise and dust. Shutters and heavy curtains also work well.
Another very effective form of draught prevention is secondary glazing. This lets you keep your historic windows in place while improving their overall efficiency. If well designed, secondary glazing can be discreet and reversible.
Older windows and doors often warp, and the sills, particularly of doors, are susceptible to wet rot. Check first to see if repairs are necessary, as these may help cut down on draughts.
Compression seals are particularly well suited to external doors as the initial 3mm of the draught-stripping allows for seasonal movement of the door. Wiper seals can be effective at keeping out draughts, especially along the base of doors, even if there is some warping.
Dampers can reduce draughts when flues are not in use. However, they should not be a complete fit as some air is needed to ventilate the chimney. A cheap and effective temporary alternative is a chimney balloon, which inflates to block up the chimney. You must not block the flow of air altogether or permanently, however, as this could lead to a build-up of dampness in the flue.
Always contact the built heritage and conservation team before undertaking any energy efficiency measures to check whether listed building consent will be required.