How listed buildings are selected
There can be no doubt that the UK has within its borders a rich and varied stock of historic buildings ranging from the formidable remains of medieval castles and the grandiose architecture of 18th and 19th century country houses through to the vernacular traditions of early cruck-framed yeoman cottages and purpose built post-medieval terraces intended to house workers employed in the mills and mines which powered the Industrial Revolution.
There are literally thousands of listed buildings within the UK. Historic England holds entries for around 500,000 listed buildings on its National Heritage List for England (NHLE).
Perhaps what is so remarkable about the historic buildings of the British Isles is the fact that so many of them are still lived in or provide new functions through conservation and sustainable development.
Although as a nation we have a great sense of our collective heritage as represented by the country’s historic buildings the process by which listing takes place is perhaps little understood.
What does listing represent?
It recognises a building’s special architectural and historic interest and places it within the planning system as a heritage asset which should be afforded protection for current and future generations.
Section 1 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 imposes a duty on the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport to compile a list of buildings of special architectural or historic interest as a guide to planning authorities when making decisions.
Recommendations for listing are made to the Secretary of State by Historic England based on Principles of Selection for Listed Buildings, but the final decision on whether to list a building or not lies with him or her.