If you are considering buying a listed building with a view to renovation, it’s absolutely essential that you fully understand the reason for the listing by looking at the listing description. This will be a paragraph or two for Grade II Listed but may be several files of information for a Grade I listing.
This will be the information that your local authority’s Conservation Officer or, if the building is Grade I, II or II* listed, English Heritage will use as a guide. Buildings are listed – ie protected and conserved – for a reason, and I would not advocate buying one if you are hoping to dramatically change any of the key attributes that are specified under the listing. That said, it is often easier than you may think to extend or alter a listed building. The fact that it is listed does not mean you cannot alter it, but it will make any planning application a significantly more complex and time-consuming process. Engaging a good planning consultant is always a good idea and will give you the best chance of achieving what you want to. Even if the building is historic but not listed, it is often advisable to seek expert help if you are considering changing the fabric and layout of a period building.
The Cotswolds have more historic and listed buildings than any other region in the UK, therefore buyers looking across Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire need to be aware of the responsibilities that come with owning such a building. If you are planning to do work to a property, you need to be aware that the planning process is more onerous, as you need to apply for both planning consent, and specific listed building consent. Whilst you may be looking to create the increasing popular ‘live in kitchen/breakfast room’, the conservation officer may have a different idea. This does not, however, preclude listed buildings from extensive renovation and restoration. With quality, experienced advice and a well thought-out scheme, it is possible to create a stunning house, sensitive to the history and character of the building. Unfortunately, since 2014 ‘alterations and repairs’ to a listed building are still subject to VAT and so you should factor in that additional 20% cost.