Listed buildings enforcement and criminal liability regime
Listed buildings enforcement and criminal liability regime

The following Planning guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Listed buildings enforcement and criminal liability regime
  • What constitutes unauthorised works to a listed building and offences
  • Are works ‘demolition’ or ‘alteration or extension’ of a listed building?
  • LPA discretion relating to listed building enforcement action
  • Listed building offences by corporations and Proceeds of Crime Act 2002
  • Listed building enforcement notice
  • Procedure for service of a listed building enforcement notice
  • Period for compliance with a listed building enforcement notice
  • LPA powers to carry out works in default and recover costs under a listed building enforcement notice
  • Power to withdraw a listed building enforcement notice
  • more

There are three ways in which a local planning authority (LPA) may take enforcement action against unauthorised works, or potential/impending future unauthorised works, to a listed building:

  1. through service of a listed building enforcement notice, and/or

  2. prosecution, and/or

  3. seeking an injunction

Whether or not an LPA takes enforcement action, unauthorised works also constitute a criminal offence.

For more guidance about listed buildings in general, see Practice Note: Listed building regime and listed building consent.

In England, chapter 16 of the National Planning Policy Framework confirms that heritage assets ‘are an irreplaceable resource and should be conserved in a manner appropriate to their significance so that they can be enjoyed for their contribution to the quality of life of existing and future generations’. The enforcement regime is an essential part of such protection.

What constitutes unauthorised works to a listed building and offences

Section 7 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (P(LBCA)A 1990) states that no person shall execute or cause to be executed any works for:

  1. the demolition of a listed building, or

  2. its alteration or extension in any manner which would affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest

unless the works are authorised by the grant of listed building consent.

A ‘person’ includes a body of persons corporate or unincorporated.

P(LBCA)A 1990, s 9 states