The position on prosecution for carrying out unauthorised works on listed buildings.

Demolishing or carrying out works that affect a listed building’s character as a building of historical or architectural interest is classed as a criminal offence if completed without listed building consent.

Liability can be attached to the person who allowed the work to be completed, and the person who completed the work. Therefore builders, surveyors, architects, owners and occupiers can face prosecution. It must be determined whether sufficient evidence exists to prosecute, and whether it would be in the public interest to do so.

Section 9 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation) Act 1990 confirms current owners would not be liable for the works carried out by a previous owner. However, non-compliance with an enforcement notice to could be cause to prosecute the current owner.

Looking at case law, in Braun v First Secretary of State [2003] EWCA Civ 665, the Court of Appeal held that an owner of a listed building could be prosecuted no matter when or by whom the breach of listed building controls were committed.


What is a Listed Building?

Almost all buildings built before 1700 are listed as are the majority built before 1840.  Generally, the older a building is, the more likely it is to be listed.  There are currently over 300,000 listed buildings in England with different categories of listing.  A small proportion is Grade 1 listed – buildings of exceptional interest such as palaces and castles.  Grade 2 listed buildings are generally of more than special interest and this is the category into which the majority fall.


For further information contact Frank Smith & Co on 01242 801748

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