Edinburgh residents: Do I need planning permission to change my listed building?

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Question: I have lived in my Category B listed building in Helensburgh for two years but it is now time to bring it up to standard for modern day living. Before I go ahead and start making changes – some structural, some decorative – I’m aware that works to listed buildings require extra consent. Please can you shed some light on this?

ANSWER: A lot of decoration and modernisation work can be carried out without listed building consent or planning permission but some alterations will require consent to be granted by the local planning authority before you start work.

Listed building consent is required for any extension, demolition or alteration to a listed building in a way which affects its character. Planning permission, on the other hand, is required for certain external alterations and extensions and for development such as sheds, fences or greenhouses which fall within the curtilage of a listed building. Internal alterations will only ever require listed building consent. An extension will normally require listed building consent as well as planning permission and a garden shed or fence will normally only require planning permission.

Both types of application are administered by your local planning authority and the forms, advice notes and fee scales (for planning permission) will all be available on the council’s website.

Sensitive repairs and redecoration will not normally require listed building consent unless they affect the character of the listed building, for instance a room with a historic paint scheme. Replacing the kitchen and bathroom fittings does not normally require consent either, so long as the existing fittings are not historic in their own right. Replacing a historic window frame or installing double glazed units always requires consent whereas carrying out minor repairs to windows does not, so long as the repairs are carried out sensitively.

If you are uncertain about whether you require planning permission or listed building consent or need advice on how to apply contact your local planning authority or The Listed Property Owners Club, they will be pleased to help.

If you own or are thinking of buying a listed building, don’t miss The Scottish Listed Property Show with the biggest collection of listed building suppliers and experts under one roof. Plus, you can meet face-to-face with experts on planning, legal issues, insurance, damp, energy efficiency and independent conservation officers for impartial help and advice.

The Scottish Listed Property Show takes place on Saturday, 27 October at the Assembly Rooms, George Street, Edinburgh. Book tickets in advance for a discounted price of £8 when you quote SM3. Visit www.lpoc.scot or call 0131 357 3300.

Do you need help from one of their experts? Email your questions to info@lpoc.scot. Advice is given without responsibility.