Over the years we have often been asked by customers what their position is if they wish to change or introduce a fireplace in their listed building. So I have compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions and have done my best to answer them to the best of my ability.
My house is Grade II listed, does that mean that only the outside is listed?
No. For all Grades of listed buildings (Grade II, II* and I) the extent of listing is the same. That means that all listed buildings are listed inside and outside, from the bottom to the top. Fixtures and fittings are also included in the listing, this includes amongst other items, fireplaces, fitted cupboards, doors, staircases and floorboards. The listing also includes the ‘curtilage’ that is the grounds of the building which for most houses means the gardens and can include any buildings within the curtilage such as garages or other outbuildings.
I have been told I might need Listed Building Consent, what does this mean?
If you want to carry out any works of demolition, alteration or extension to your property you will need Listed Building Consent (LBC). This is similar to planning permission but there is no fee attached to an application. The application is made to the local planning authority (LPA), who have 8 weeks to determine it. An application has to include sufficient details for the LPA to understand what is proposed which will include the application form, location plan and scale drawings.
This may seem daunting at first but do not worry, just because something requires LBC does not necessarily mean that you cannot do it. The large majority of LBC applications submitted each year are approved. It should be seen as a way to carefully manage change to listed buildings, rather than prevent any change.
My house is Georgian and this fireplace is a horrible 1950’s fireplace so can I change it for a nicer one more suited to the period of the house?
Simply because a particular feature is a later addition to a building does not necessarily mean it should be removed. Often features that show how a building has evolved over time are important and can demonstrate changes in fashions or fortunes such as a Victorian conservatory on a Georgian building or an Edwardian staircase in a Victorian house. However, in some instances if a feature is out of keeping with the property it may be appropriate to change it for something more suitable. Certainly changing a fireplace will require Listed Building Consent (LBC) so contact you local conservation officer in the first instance.
I want to change the fireplace in my listed house. What should I do first?
First you should speak to you local conservation officer. Each local planning authority or (LPA) employs a conservation specialist who can talk you through the relevant process. You can find the details for your conservation officer on your LPA’s web-site. By seeking advice early on you should be able to resolve any potential issues and ensure that when you submit an application it is supported.
These answers are just my personal opinion and do not constitute formal legal advice. For more information contact your local conservation officer.