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What Is the Cost of Getting Planning for Changes to A Listed Building In 2023?

What Is the Cost of Getting Planning for Changes To A Listed Building In 2023?

Daunted at the thought of doing works to a listed building and planning costs escalating? Not sure what planning consent for a listed building entails?

This article considers a practical approach to getting planning permission for a listed building and what costs you should budget for at the outset.

The first thing to say, is that getting consent for changes to a listed building does not need to be difficult or something to be feared. Yes, it is likely to be a bit more expensive than getting consent in place for a non listed building and it can be more time consuming, but it need not be complicated if dealt with in a structured way.

To establish the cost of getting planning permission for changes to a listed building, the first thing is to understand what it is you want to do, impact on the original heritage fabric and associated considerations and viability of this being considered as acceptable by the local authority.

This can vary widely depending on the specific details of the project, the level of listing, as well as the location and the local council’s requirements. Typically, the cost of getting planning permission for changes to a listed building can be broken down into several different categories:

1. Application fee: The application for listed building consent is actually free – yes you read that right – free! However, you normally have to accompany this with an application for planning permission. For a normal homeowner for a residential house this fee is not any different to another house and currently just under £250.00,( if you are doing works to a listed flat the cost may be a bit higher,) This is the fee that is paid to the local council to cover the administrative costs of processing the application.

2. Professional fees: This includes the cost of hiring an architect or other professional to draw up plans, provide technical information, and prepare the application including statements that may be need to accompany what is needed to support the application. These fees can vary depending on the complexity of the project and level of impact on listed features. If the project is more complex in nature, and in particular if you are seeking to make lots of changes to the outside of the listed building including any extensions, then it is likely you will need additional consultants onboard; these may include but not limited to a planning consultant, a heritage consultant as well as an architect that may specialise in conservation. Having a clear discussion at the outset about what you are looking to do with an architect will allow you to be best placed to establish who you need to engage and what the associated costs and strategy will be relative to what you are looking to do. Where you can, you should seek to ensure that the team you have working on your listed building has experience working with similar listed buildings and a proven track record.

3. Pre-application costs: Upon review of what is being proposed your consultants may suggest having a preapplication with the council prior to any formal submission being made; this will allow officers to establish whether what is being proposed is viable and if it can be supported by the heritage team at the council. Although this advice is not binding, it can be valuable and inform the formal application and potentially save time and delays going forward, The costs for pre-applications vary from council to council, and may or may not include the opportunity to meet the planning team – this can be useful if you are looking to discuss aspects of the proposal that maybe considered contentious. The council typically publishes a schedule of fees for pre-applications on their website if you want to find out the latest fees. In tandem, your consultant team may have fees associated with this. If you are having a pre-application and the scheme changes drastically afterwards before a formal application can be made then you may also need to consider additional design fees at that point before planning can be submitted formally. In parallel, if not many changes are needed the consultant team’s fees for the planning stage would reflect this. At times, during the pre-application process the planning officer may ask for additional reports to support an application and these may incur further costs from third parties.

4. Heritage consultant fees: When working on a listed building, you might have to hire a heritage consultant to advise on the conservation of the building and its historical significance. The cost will depend on the size and complexity of the project, as well as the consultant’s level of experience and size of team. They may need to some resources seeking historic information from National Archives or historic maps and these costs may be charged in addition to their fees. There may also need to be detailed analysis of specific components of the build and photographic conditions undertaken to accompany an application statement all of which take time and will incur a fee.

5. Specialist reports: Depending on the nature of the project, you may need to commission specialist reports, such as a tree survey, a bat survey, or a flood risk assessment. These reports can be expensive and time intensive, and the cost will vary depending on the specific requirements of the project. Bat surveys may need to be done at certain times of the year so be mindful when considering time frames and the impact on how long things may take. In addition, if you are demolishing part of the historic fabric you may need to employ a structural engineer earlier in the process to outline why this may be necessary and outline method statements to support the reasoning as part of the application.

6. Discharge of any conditions: If you are considering discharging conditions, then it means that you have planning permission. Subject to what these conditions are, the council may ask for material samples or further specialist reports or detailed method statements all of which will require input and associated costs from third parties to address. You should budget for these at the outset so that they can be addressed; alternatively, if you are having a pre-application ask the planning officer’s if they can define what conditions may be and you may then have the opportunity to include for that information in the formal planning at the outset.

It’s important to note that obtaining planning permission for changes to a listed building can be a complex and time-consuming process – be realistic about this with your design team, particularly when thinking about how long it may take for approvals to be forthcoming – the council heritage officer’s may be working in limited capacity and they and other bodies may need to be consulted before a decision can be issued.

It is often more expensive than for an unlisted building – however it is also a criminal offence to make changes to a listed building without consent with very serious implications so not something that should be skimped on.

Bear in mind, if you are investing in making changes, it is likely to be for the better of the property and this in turn also over time add value so the cost of fees to get planning should be considered relative to this.