What is Local Listing and why does it matter?

Local Listing aims to celebrate local distinctiveness and help to protect the character of individual areas. Assets that are important to a local community can be nominated by that community and assessed by the council for addition to the Local List. Sites that are locally listed cover a wide range of heritage assets, from historic buildings and structures to landscapes, street furniture and historic sites.

Local listing is not a legislative control and does not determine the need for planning permission. However, when planning permission is required the local authority will consider the 'special interest' of a locally listed heritage asset, and aim to retain and protect that special interest.

Background to Local Listing

In October 2019, the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) announced the most ambitious local heritage campaign for decades. This is intended to encourage communities to nominate historic buildings and other heritage assets which they value most for inclusion in their council’s Local List, helping to protect them through the planning system. An overarching aim of the campaign, as stated by MHCLG, is to significantly increase the number of historic buildings that are protected from development.

The process of listing England’s most special and distinctive historic buildings and structures, both nationally and locally, began after the Second World War and has ensured some of have been protected, but the process was never completed and many buildings that are important locally have gone unrecognised and are not protected from development.

The national listing process provides statutory protection to around 500,000 buildings across England. This national list is maintained by Historic England. Where buildings are included on Local Lists (as non-designated heritage assets), they are also better protected from development under the planning system. Local Lists are the domain of local planning authorities, yet only around 50% of authorities in England have such lists and where they do, they are often out of date and incomplete. Addressing this shortfall has been the driving force behind funding the current Local Heritage Listing Campaign.