Any property that is either Grade I or Grade II listed is considered to be of architectural significance or merit. The likelihood is that the building is also at least a hundred years old, which means that as the present owner, you are considered to be its custodian – with a responsibility to look after and maintain the building. As a result, any change you wish to make will need planning permission, and this includes changes to the interior, and the windows or chimneys, as well as the exterior.
Although a conservatory is seen as permitted development for most types of home, when it comes to a listed building you will need to get special permission from your local planning authority. This is known as Listed Building Consent. If you don’t get the relevant permission before adding a conservatory to a listed building, you will be breaking the law and you are likely to be prosecuted.
How to get Listed Building Consent for a conservatory
To get permission to add a conservatory to a listed building, you will need to apply to the planning authority of your local council. Every council is different, of course, but there are common procedures that are relevant to all. In the case of a fairly standard conservatory being added to a Grade II listed property, the planning authority will attempt to make a decision within eight weeks. During this time there is a statutory 21-day period in which the application is open for consultation with neighbours, local societies and any other interested or relevant parties.
A proposal for a more significant change to the building, or if the property is Grade I listed, may take as long as 13 weeks. Also, in the case of Grade I listed buildings, and even some Grade II properties, the planning authority is likely to seek the advice of English Heritage. If your proposal is granted Listed Building Consent, you can go ahead and add the conservatory to your property. If the proposal is declined, you can appeal to the Secretary of State. You can get more details about the application process at the government’s Planning Portal website
Finding the right conservatory for a period home
An essential part in making sure that your application is successful is in choosing the right kind of conservatory. When planning a proposal for Listed Building Consent, it is a good idea to consult an architect with experience of developing conservatories for listed buildings.
Ideally, you are looking for a design that is sympathetic to the original structure and in keeping with its overall aesthetic. The size and shape of the conservatory, and the materials that will be used in its construction, are very important elements in your proposal. Very often planning authorities favour simple designs that do not detract from the original building’s appearance, or clash with its style.
Planners will be looking for conservatories that do not dominate the original building, or upset the balance of the property’s grounds. Colour is also important. By choosing tones that are in keeping with the dominant colours of the main house, such as its brickwork or roofing tiles, as well as those of surrounding properties and in the local area, you will boost your proposal’s chances of success.