Your period property

A period property dates back to a specific architectural era where it retains valuable heritage features typical of the time.

It will require special consideration, especially where listed or located within a conservation area or area of architectural importance. Naturally, the local authority and other relevant bodies, including English Heritage, will take a particularly close interest in the project. They will appoint a Historic Building Officer to review the proposals so that the heritage value of the building and its surroundings are protected.

Other consultants may also need to be involved, particularly in listed building applications, where a heritage impact report will need to be submitted. Notwithstanding the heritage value of any building and the design sensitivity required, a contemporary approach may still be allowable. What is important is that the design and treatment are sympathetic to the original property in so far as any new addition will not dominate but rather enhance or even contrast with the existing building.

Whether dating back to Tudor, Elizabethan or Jacobean times, or built in the more recent Georgian, Victorian or Edwardian eras, the building must retain its period integrity while also providing the homeowner with the modern day lifestyle they are seeking.

Listed buildings

Listed buildings are considered to be of national importance and are subject to additional legal protection. Listed properties are identified on the National Heritage List for England which will include in its detail three categories of significance:

  • Grade I – of exceptional interest
  • Grade II* – of more than special interest
  • Grade II – of special interest

Most listed building owners are likely to live in a Grade II building as these make up 92 per cent of the total number. Once a building becomes listed this applies to the whole of the property internally and externally unless Historic England have excluded any part of it.

Altering a listed building requires listed building consent which is accompanied in the planning application with a heritage impact report. The report is prepared by a specialist architectural historian who surveys the property and considers the impact of proposed works on its heritage value.

Some properties are locally recognised as of historical note and are locally listed. Although not considered to be as significant as a listed building, these are deemed to make a positive contribution to a location’s character because of their heritage value. These may be in a conservation area and the local authority may have certain conditions about any alterations to the building.

Conservation areas

Conservation areas are designated localities where buildings are deemed to be of special architectural or historic interest. The aim of creating these conservation areas is to protect their unique identity.

Conservation Areas are determined by local authorities and in some cases Historic England. Their existence gives local authorities added controls on alterations to properties even though they are not listed. These more stringent conditions are most likely to affect work you wish to carry out to the outside of your building particularly where it falls within public view. Also they may well restrict work you can normally do without planning permission (permitted development), such as replacing a door or window or altering gutters and downpipes.

Depending on the type of alteration, Howie Architects can advise on the best planning strategy. This may include seeking pre-application advice in order to get specific guidance from the local planners to help in developing the detailed design.

You can find out if you live in a conservation area by contacting your local authority.