A “listed building” in England is a building that has been placed on the Statutory List of Buildings of Special Architectural or Historic Interest. The statutory body maintaining the list is English Heritage. Similar lists are maintained in Scotland by Historic Scotland, in Wales by Cadw and in Northern Ireland by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.
A listed building may not be demolished, altered or added to without permission being granted for this by the local planning agency. In this sense, it is protected against damage or destruction and is preserved as part of the nation’s heritage.
As well as more obvious structures such as houses, castles, churches, pubs, etc. the List also includes other structures such as bridges, milestones, monuments, war memorials, parks and gardens, battlefields, wrecks, etc., considered to be of such architectural or historic interest as warrants their protection and preservation.
In England, there are three categories of listing. These are shown below, together with the definition given to them by English Heritage:
- Grade I buildings are of exceptional interest, sometimes considered to be internationally important; only 2.5% of listed buildings are Grade I
- Grade II* buildings are particularly important buildings of more than special interest; 5.5% of listed buildings are Grade II*
- Grade II buildings are nationally important and of special interest; 92% of all listed buildings are in this class and it is the most likely grade of listing for a home owner.
The same categories as the above are used by Cadw in Wales, whereas Historic Scotland uses A, B and C and the Northern Ireland Environment Agency uses A, B+ and B.