Last word in property: Listed buildings
PUBLISHED: 12:44 09 August 2016 | UPDATED: 12:44 09 August 2016
What does it actually mean for a property to be listed? Louis de Soissons, head of residential at Savills in Norwich, explains
Historic England estimates that about half a million buildings are listed - in fact, most properties built before 1840 are so designated. It’s hard to give an exact overall figure because one listing might cover an entire terrace, for example, but, by their very nature, all are important and interesting. Just how important and how interesting is denoted by their Grade II, Grade II* or Grade I rank. Achieving the ultimate Grade I is a rare honour afforded to just 2.5pc; the overwhelming majority fall into the Grade II camp.
When I first began selling period property some 30 years ago many buyers actively sought out those that were listed, keen to have that endorsement of pedigree. More recently I have detected something of a shift. I suspect this is because the whole buying process seems to involve more and more checks and procedures and, for some, adding listing to the list is just one piece of paperwork too far. Others may be put off by concerns over what they may or may not be allowed to do to the building once they have moved in.
The important thing to remember is that the mere fact of listing does not preclude change – many listed buildings have been altered or extended. Yes, it’s true you do need to check with the council and obtain listed building consent where necessary, but if the proposed work is sensitive and sympathetic and uses appropriate materials it’s unlikely that permission will be withheld.
Remember too that the additional effort involved does also have its benefits. First and foremost, demand for period property remains strong and preserving the character that led to the listing in the first place will continue to be an attraction for future purchasers. This, and the fact that the stipulations should ensure any work is carried out to a high standard, will ultimately underpin and enhance value.
Louis de Soissons, Savills Norwich,
01603 229 229