Many homeowners, particularly those who have never owned or rented a Grade 2 listed property, may ask themselves, do I need permission to modernise my heritage property? Hence, we have created this informative guide to assist such homeowners in finding the answer.


So, can you change your Grade 2 Listed building without permission?


Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but… no work should be carried out without permission, you would need Listed Building Consent. For a Grade 2 listed building, we recommend you get both Listed Building Consent and also Planning Permission, if you choose to work with Wandsworth Sash Windows on your windows and doors. If you’re not making changes to your windows, or doors having Listed Building Consent only may be fine; however, it all depends on what work you want to carry out. Also, minor repairs and maintenance are excluded from even needing listed building consent. So, if you repaint your kitchen, you probably won’t need permission. But if you do anything seen as a ‘material change’, you will need consent, but who wants to take the risk of making any changes without permission? The uncertainties about what requires consent and what doesn’t can be challenging. This guide is here to help you navigate through these challenges.


Let’s define a Grade 2 listed building

You’re probably aware that a Grade 2 listed building is a property with particular architectural or historical interest to a local area with architectural features that have been identified as a critical part of our heritage so receive special protection. These buildings have been placed on the National Heritage List for England (NHLE), which is an excellent place to check whether your home is listed.


Considering alterations to a listed building

Understanding the legal requirements for changing a listed building can be perplexing. So those questions mentioned, like, do I need Planning Permission, Listed Building Consent, or both, can swirl in your head. Here is a breakdown of the regulations. So, you’ve acquired a listed building that requires some revamping to transform into the ideal home. Extending the back for a stylish kitchen/diner, removing an unsightly lean-to, changing the windows, or designing and installing a new front door. Sounds straightforward.

Well, not quite. Whether your property is listed or not, pertinent laws govern planning works. These laws safeguard homeowners, communities, and buildings of significant architectural or historical value. So, before doing any work, you must first obtain listed building consent from your local authority to alter a listed building. This consent applies to exterior and interior modifications that could impact the property’s character or appearance as a structure of particular architectural or historical importance. 

While minor alterations like adding a roof light or changing wallpaper may seem insignificant, they can significantly influence the building’s particular interest and thus require consent. Your local planning authority determines whether such changes affect your property’s interest.

Listed Building Consent doesn’t hinder modernising your home but ensures alterations align with the building’s original character. Typically, consents are granted, yielding commendable outcomes for the property and the homeowner.


When does Listed Building Consent Come into Play?

Owning a listed building is a commendable responsibility, marking you as the custodian of a significant piece of history, akin to curating a living museum. While your home is meant to be enjoyed like any other, this privilege comes with notable duties, similar to safeguarding a precious artefact; this is where Listed Building Consent comes into play.

Listed Building Consent protects and preserves a building’s historical significance, encompassing its exterior and interior. Once a building is listed, consent becomes a requisite for any demolition, alterations, extensions, repair work that could impact its historic character, or the replacement of landmark features, fittings, or fabric.


Understanding which works necessitate Listed Building Consent is crucial:

  • Repair Work: Routine maintenance and minor like-for-like repairs typically don’t require consent. However, alterations or complete replacements of historic fabric or features that affect the building’s character mandate consent
  • Painting and Decorating: Internal painting and decorating usually don’t require Listed Building Consent unless they impact a historic decorative scheme. External painting may require consent as it could influence the building’s character.
  • Window and Door Replacement: Internal alterations, such as removing historic doors or plasterwork or replacing external doors or windows, demand listed building consent
  • Bathroom and Kitchen Fittings: Replacing modern fittings generally doesn’t require consent. However, consent is necessary to replace surviving historic fittings.
  • Emergency Work: Emergency repairs can be conducted without prior safety, health, or preservation consent. However, detailed justification must be provided afterwards.


The consequences of unauthorised works on listed buildings are severe. Altering or demolishing without consent can result in hefty fines or even imprisonment. Only in cases of essential public safety concerns can a demolition be justified, subject to a Dangerous Structure Notice from the Council.

If you are still determining the need for Listed Building Consent, consult your local planning office or visit for guidance. Navigating these regulations diligently is essential to upholding the integrity of our architectural heritage.


Do I need Planning Permission?

In contrast to Listed Building Consent, Planning Permission is a separate requirement necessary for exterior alterations to many homes, whether listed or not. While some alterations fall under Permitted Development Rights, seeking advice from your local authority before commencing any changes is prudent. If both Planning Permission and Listed Building Consent are necessary, applying for them simultaneously usually expedites the process.


In conclusion, changing the outside of a Grade 2 listed building requires careful consideration, adherence to regulations, and a commitment to preserving historical integrity. We recognise this delicate balance and offer services aligned with conservation principles. Through navigating challenges and embracing opportunities for change, property owners can contribute to the longevity and relevance of these cherished heritage structures. 

At Wandsworth Sash Windows, our dedication to change while honouring tradition reflects our vision of seamlessly blending the past with the future. We strive to preserve the distinctive character of Grade 2 listed buildings, establishing ourselves as a reliable partner for property owners navigating the intricacies of exterior alterations. If you’re considering your next project involving a listed building, we invite you to contact us for a discussion.

Contact the Wandsworth Sash Windows team

Talk to us – we can help with your bespoke window, door and joinery requirements. Call 02079247303 or email