Listed Buildings

What is a Listed Building?

When a building is described as listed it means that it is included on a list of buildings which are considered to be of sufficient historic or architectural interest to merit special protection. The list is drawn up by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on the advice of English Heritage. Copies of the list are held by Winchester City Council and can be viewed on request.

How do I find out about a Listed Building?

You can look up the list descriptions of all listed buildings in England and Wales at www.heritagegateway.org.uk. Use the advanced search to search either the entire Winchester district or individual parish.

What is the List Description?

The lists of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest are compiled by parish. Each listing gives the following information:

  • address
  • grade of listing
  • grid reference
  • map reference number
  • building reference number
  • a list description
  • details on ancient monument status
  • details of any national archival records

The list descriptions are intended for identification purposes only and do not define all the features of special interest. Most do not even have a description of the interior.

Why are buildings listed?

Buildings are listed so that we can identify and protect our architectural heritage. Listing does not suggest that a building must be preserved for all time, rather that care will be taken over decisions affecting its future and any alterations must respect the character and special interest of the building. All of the properties considered for listing are judged according to a set of national standards. The condition of a building, its suitability for alternative uses, or the cost of maintenance are not matters which affect a buildings suitability for listing although these are taken into consideration if an application for demolition is subsequently submitted. The Department for Culture, Media and Sports main criteria for listing are:

  • Architectural interest
    The lists are meant to include all buildings which are important to the nation for the interest of their architectural design, decoration and craftsmanship; also buildings which are important examples of particular building types and techniques, or which have significant plan forms.
  • Historic interest
    The lists also include buildings which display important aspects of the nation's social, economic, cultural or military history.
  • Close historical associations with nationally important people or events
  • Group value
    For example where buildings comprise together an important architectural or historical entity

Age and rarity are also important considerations particularly where buildings are proposed for listing on the strength of their historic interest. Thus all buildings built before 1700, which survive in anything like their original condition, are listed; and most buildings of about 1700 to 1840 are listed, although some selection is necessary. From about 1840, only buildings of definite quality and character are listed, and for the same reasons, post-1914 buildings are only listed if they demonstrate very special qualities. Buildings which are less than 30 years old can only be listed if they are of outstanding quality and are under threat. Buildings which are less than ten years old cannot be listed.

Grades of Listed Buildings

Listed buildings are graded according to their importance. Grade I buildings are of national importance, Grade II* have some national significance, and Grade II buildings (which form the majority of listed buildings) tend to be of more local importance.

A national resurvey of England was started in 1970 and was completed in the 1990s. Occasionally, a building may have been missed and there is therefore a provision to spot list where the Department considers a case for listing has been made.

There are currently nearly 500 000 listed buildings in England, and of these approximately 1.5% are Grade I, 4% are Grade II*, and 94.5% are Grade II. Winchester City Council has about 2 780 entries on its list, of which 70 are listed Grade I, 149 Grade II* and the rest are Grade II. Because an entry may cover a number of buildings (such as in a terrace of similar houses) the actual number of buildings protected is far higher, probably well over 3 000.

What if I own a listed building?

Listed Building Consent will be required for any work which might affect the special architectural or historic interest of your building. Further information leaflets on Listed Buildings and making alterations to them can be downloaded from this page.

Under Section 9 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 it is a criminal offence to demolish a listed building, or to alter or extend it in any way which would affect its character, unless you have first received consent from Winchester City Council. Penalties for carrying out alterations illegally can be severe so you should always contact the Historic Environment Team for advice before you or your builder starts work.

Repairs Notices and Urgent Works Notices

If the owner of a listed building allows it to fall into serious disrepair, the Council has powers under the 1990 Act to serve a Repairs Notice or an Urgent Works Notice on the owner, requiring him or her to carry-out the work at their own expense, or giving the Council the right to do the work themselves and then charge the owner. In extreme cases, the Council can also force the owner to sell them the building at minimum cost. These powers are rarely implemented but the Council will use them if a listed building is threatened by neglect or wilful damage.