Listing a building means:
- it has been identified as having special architectural or historic interest
- its historic significance will be taken into account when considering applications that affect the building or its setting.
“A listing is generally seen as setting a building ‘in concrete.’ Both conservationists and the Church regard buildings as living organisms. Vital features are to be respected and retained otherwise the building ceases to be what it is. But buildings, like organisms, grow and change, so that the essence of the original use for which they were built may continue”. Heritage & Mission (Street & Sergeant, 2000)
Listing a building does not usually mean that it must be preserved unchanged. Listed buildings may be extended and altered, and alterations can sometimes be beneficial.
What do the listing grades mean?
In England and Wales, they are classified into grades of relative importance.
- Grade I is used for buildings of exceptional national interest (about 2.5% of all listed buildings nationally)
- Grade II* is used for particularly important buildings of more than special interest (about 5.5% nationally)
- Grade II is used for buildings of special interest (about 92% nationally)
In Scotland the classifications differ, buildings are put into one of three listing categories according to their relative importance.
- Category A is used for buildings of special architectural or historic interest which are outstanding examples of a particular period, style or building type.
- Category B is used for buildings of special architectural or historic interest which are major examples of a particular period, style or building type.
- Category C is used for buildings of special architectural or historic interest which are representative examples of a period, style or building type.
Criteria for a listed building
The main criteria used for selecting buildings for listing are:
- architectural interest: all buildings which are nationally important for the interest of their architectural design, decoration and craftsmanship; also important examples of particular building types and techniques, and significant plan forms
- historic interest: this includes buildings which illustrate important aspects of the nation's social, economic, cultural or military history.
- close historical association: with nationally important buildings or events.
- group value: especially where buildings comprise an important architectural or historic unity or are a fine example of planning (such as squares, terraces and model villages).
Generally, the following types of buildings qualify for listing:
- All buildings before 1700 which survive in anything like their original condition.
- Most buildings between 1700 and 1840, though selection is necessary
- Buildings between 1840 and 1914 of definite quality and character (including principal works of principal architects)
- Important post-war buildings more than thirty years old and selected buildings of high quality between 1914 and 1939.
Historic England has published Places of Worship Listing Selection Guide which helps to define which historic places of worship are likely to meet the relevant tests for national designation and be included on the National Heritage List for England
To understand more about the historical background, chronology and development of the non-conformist places of worship please refer to Nonconformist Places of Worship Introductions to Heritage Assets (Historic England)
The extent of listing
A listed building is commonly identified in the National Heritage List for England and Wales by an address only. Unless the list entry explicitly says otherwise, the law says that the listed building also includes fixtures and curtilage buildings – i.e. any object or structure which is fixed to the building, or is within the curtilage and forms part of the land and has done so since before July 1948 - are also treated as part of the building for the purposes of listed building control.
Contact the Connexional Conservation Officer if you require further guidance.
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