Buying a listed building in Bristol - should you take the risk?

Listed buildings are often very desirable to own. Heritage features like thatched roofs and flying buttresses are full of character. However, owning a listed property comes with a set of responsibilities and restrictions that might impact your plans for how you use the property.

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Listed house front door Bristol

First steps

The first thing to do is look into what grading of listed property the building is. This will explain what you can and can't do.

  • Grade I: buildings of exceptional interest
  • Grade II*: particularly important buildings of more than special interest.
  • Grade II: buildings that are of special interest, warranting every effort to preserve them.

What will my obligations be?

Listed building restrictions are in place to preserve a property's architectural or historic interest. These controls prevent unpermitted alterations (such as adding UPVC frames) to the property.

Examples of listed parts can range from doors to types of stone used in the building.

I want to make alterations

Planning and listed building consent from Bristol City Council for any modifications or alterations is needed by the owner of a listed property.

What do I do if the property has already been altered?

Owning a listed property without the proper consents for any modifications is an offence, and the obligation for ensuring the appropriate consents are in place will be inherited by the new property owner.

What will the purchaser need to do?

As the owner of a listed building in Bristol, you will need to maintain the home in a good condition.

Should you fail to do so, the local authority can take formal action, culminating in compulsory acquisition if you do not comply.

Appropriate methods and materials, for example period brickwork, should be used (where necessary) when performing repair work.

Directory of listed buildings in Bristol

There are over 500,000 listed buildings across the country - around 2,175 of which are in Bristol City Council.

Listed buildings and properties in and near to Bristol include:

  • ABC Cinema, Whiteladies Road, Bristol, City Of Bristol
  • St Annes Junior And Infant School Including Detached Cookery Classroom And School House And Railings With Piers And Gateways, Langton Road, Bristol, City Of Bristol
  • Obelisk To The Rear Of Queen Victoria House, Redland Hill, Non Civil Parish, Bristol, City Of Bristol
  • Wesley Memorial Church, Bryants Hill, Bristol, City Of Bristol
  • Birchwood Road, Bristol, Non Civil Parish, Bristol, City Of Bristol

A full list can be found on the Historic England database

Gaynor Haliday, Legal researcher

About the author

Gaynor Haliday is an experienced legal researcher and published author. She has had numerous articles published in the press and is a legal industry commentator.

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