Not too long ago I fielded an enquiry from a gentleman who was interested in buying an intriguing old house on the fringe of Vivary Park but before making an offer wanted my advice on the implications of it being Grade II listed. Having handled the sale of a good many listed buildings over the years I was able to offer a good amount of general information with strong words of caution.  

Listing marks and celebrates a building's special architectural and historic interest, this brings it under the consideration of the planning system, so that it can be protected for future generations. The older a building is, and the fewer the surviving examples of its kind, the more likely it is to be listed.

There are three different types of listing: Grade I: This means the property is of ‘exceptional interest’. Only around 2.5% of listed buildings are Grade 1 listed. Grade II*: This means the property is important and considered of more than special interest. Around 5.8% of listed buildings fall into this category. Grade II: This means the building is of special interest. Most listed buildings (around 92%) fall into this category.

Listed Building Consent is required for all work to a listed building that involves alterations, extensions or demolition and will affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest. The local authority will determine the special interest of a designated property. The requirement applies to all types of work and to all parts of the house covered by the listing if its special interest will be affected.

Listed Building Consent may also be needed for buildings on land associated with a listed building - this also stands for those looking to demolish a listed property and I concluded my advice with strong words of caution - Unauthorised works to listed buildings will be investigated and may lead to a prosecution resulting in a criminal record, fine or prison term. Many transgressors have discovered this all too late and at considerable cost. You have been warned!

Chris Willey is an Independent Property Appraiser and welcomes sale related enquiries on Taunton 01823 412661