What Is a Listed Building?

Listed Building

Listed Buildings are buildings and structures defined by the Secretary of State as being of “special architectural or historic interest”. They include buildings and structures that are deemed to be of importance on a national scale. However, not all listed buildings are grand or attractive – sometimes architectural or historic significance may take precedence over visual qualities, and even fairly small structures such as milestones and water pumps may be listed.

Listed Building Grades

There are 3 grades of listing:

  • Grade I – of exceptional interest
  • Grade II* (commonly referred to as “grade two-star”) - of particular importance and containing outstanding features.
  • Grade II – of special interest which warrants every effort to preserve them.

Criteria for Listing a 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.

Which Buildings in Bassetlaw are Listed?

There are over 1000 listed buildings in Bassetlaw. There is a rich variety of buildings including churches, houses, barns, bridges and dovecotes. You can search for listed buildings on the National Heritage List for England.

It is important to remember that any building or structure attached to a listed building or which stands within its grounds and has done so since 1st July 1948 may also be listed by virtue of Section 1 (5) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.

Listed buildings and the Law

Under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 it is a criminal offence to carry out works to a listed building without first obtaining Listed Building Consent. Doing so can lead to heavy financial penalties and even a possible prison sentence. See the Council's Listed Building Consent page for further details.

Ecclesiastical exemption

Alterations to listed churches and chapels of the six denominations operating an acceptable internal system of control are exempt from the need for Listed Building Consent provided that the building remains in use as a place of worship. The exempt denominations include:

  • the Church of England
  • the Church in Wales
  • the Methodists
  • the Roman Catholics
  • the United Reformed and those Baptist churches where the Baptist Union acts in the capacity of trustee.

However, please note that for any significant external alterations to these buildings, planning permission is still required.


Proper maintenance of historic buildings will preserve their integrity and their value. Owners of listed buildings (including curtilage structures) should ensure that their property is kept in good condition and not fall into disrepair. Failure to do so can lead to the local authority using enforcement powers to ensure that a building is repaired. There is also the power for a building to be Compulsory Purchased by the local authority or the Secretary of State. It is therefore recommended that owners and occupiers seek professional advice if in any doubt about how best to preserve such buildings.

For further information, including design please read our Listed Buildings, Conservation Areas and Other Heritage Assets Guide (Oct 2013 Update).

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