There has been some confusion recently about the difference between English Heritage and Historic England, and in particular which organisation is now responsible for overseeing amendments to listed houses.
Until recently, English Heritage was the name of the body responsible for looking after England’s historic monuments and listed buildings. Their responsibilities stretched from looking after national public monuments such as Stonehenge, to works on private listed houses. In 2015 it was decided these two quite distinct responsibilities should be separated.
The body now responsible for England’s listed houses and buildings (and also the Heritage at Risk register) is called Historic England. They are a public body funded by the Government, and their role is principally to manage the National Heritage List for England, which is a database of England’s designated heritage assets (such as listed houses, churches, scheduled monuments and battlefields). So, clients with listed houses will be dealing with Historic England on matters concerning alterations to their listed property.
English Heritage, the body that listed home owners used to deal with is now a charity completely separate from the the listed buildings process. Their role is now to care for hundreds of historic ‘public’ sites across the country, such as Hadrian’s Wall, Dover Castle, Osborne House and Audley End House (below)
How does each grade of listing affect your project?
Listed private houses are essentially those considered worthy of protection owing to their architectural or historic interest, with listings separated into Grade I, Grade II* and Grade II. Regardless of the grade a house is listed at, Historic England has extra control over what changes can be made to its interior and exterior. In general, each listing covers the whole building as well as any attached structures, additions or fixtures and in many cases land or buildings which come within the surrounding land or curtilage of the building (such as barns, outbuildings etc).
And, as can be the case with VAT and listed houses, there is little consistency between planning districts and planning officers. Some Conservation Officers can be quite relaxed, while others can become extremely excited about what would appear to be the smallest detail.
We work with one particular client who will only deal with one of his council’s two Conservation Officers, so it is often worth discussing this with your architect first (if they are local), as working with the right Conservation Officer for your project can really make a difference.
As ever, do call us if you’d like to discuss this particular matter further +44 (0)1934 745270