How To Get Historic Buildings or Sites Protected Through Listing
Care about the future of a historic place you know and love? You can apply for a historic building or site to be protected through the listing system by completing our online application form.
You can return to unfinished applications at any time.
We offer both a free and a paid-for service. You will be asked which service you would like to choose at the start of the formal application process.
For more details on our paid-for service see our Fast-track Listing, and Listing Enhancement webpages:
These are carried out on a cost recovery basis as part of our Enhanced Advisory Services.
You can apply to protect:
- Monuments, including war memorials
- Parks, gardens or battlefields and
- Maritime wreck sites
If successful, the building or site will then be added to the NHLE.
Making an application
Just follow these three steps in order to apply for listing.
Step 1: Make sure that the building or site you are nominating is not already on the List or being assessed for listing
- Search the List
- Check with your local office whether we have already received an application
- Check on Heritage Gateway to see if we have considered the building before
Step 2: Check that the place you are nominating is eligible
We only take forward applications where the building or site is something capable of being listed, scheduled or registered and it falls under one of the following:
- Is under serious threat of demolition or major alteration
- Is within the remit of one of our strategic listing priorities
- Has very strong potential for inclusion on the NHLE. See our Listing Guidance
Step 3: Complete the form
- You will first need to set up a Historic England Account, if you do not already have one. This is quick and easy to do and will allow you to submit as many applications as you like. You can also return to unfinished applications at any time
- Read our checklist to see what information you will need in order to complete the application form
- Complete the application form using our step-by-step guidance
Certificates of Immunity
Using the above form, you can also apply for a Certificate of Immunity (COI). A COI prevents a building from being listed for five years. It's a useful mechanism for ascertaining the listed status of a building and can help inform development proposals for a site.
Paragraph 24 of the Principles of Selection for Listed Buildings (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport [DCMS], November 2018) explains:
‘A COI precludes the Secretary of State from listing a building, and a local planning authority from serving a building preservation notice in relation to it, for a period of five years from the date of issue. COIs provide the owners / developers of a building with certainty over its possible listing.’
Upon application for a COI, the building is assessed for listing: this will result in Historic England recommending to the Secretary of State either that the building should be listed, or that a COI should be issued.
COIs offer immunity from listing only. Other designation outcomes such as the scheduling of ancient monuments and archaeological areas, and the registration of parks, gardens, and battlefields may still apply on any sites granted a COI. This is also the case for the designation of conservation areas, carried out by local planning authorities.
Submit your application for a COI to Historic England using the online application form for listing, linked to above.
Please supply enough detailed information with your application to enable us to make an initial desk-based assessment.
When we receive an application for a COI, Historic England will, in most instances, carry out a full assessment, generally including an internal and external inspection of the building.
We'll then make a recommendation to the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) on whether the building merits listing or whether a COI should be issued. If the Secretary of State is satisfied that the building is of special architectural or historical interest, then the building is listed.
Should DCMS be minded to grant a COI, we will send out a letter on their behalf informing all parties of this. At this stage, there is a period of 28 days in which to appeal to DCMS to ask for this to be reviewed.
After this period, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport will formalise their decision. If a COI is issued this cannot be challenged or revoked.
Our Fast-Track Listing service provides clarity sooner. You can use it to apply for listing, or for a COI.
We offer a guaranteed timeframe, usually within 12 weeks, in which we will make our recommendation to the DCMS on whether or not a building should be listed, or a COI issued.
For a full description of our Fast-Track Listing service, see the detailed description of our Enhanced Advisory Services.
COIs last for five years. When there are less than two years left to run, you can apply to renew a COI. Renewal is not automatic; Historic England will carry out a new assessment to determine whether a further COI should be considered. It is possible for a COI to be renewed more than once.
Building Preservation Notices and the Pilot Scheme on Indemnification by Historic England against Compensation
A Building Preservation Notice (BPN) is a means for a local planning authority (LPA) to protect a building which it considers to have special architectural or historic interest, but which is in danger of demolition or alteration in such a way as to affect its character, by a form of temporary listing. This advice note sets out how LPAs should approach the serving of a BPN and gives guidance about how to seek Historic England agreement to indemnification against the risk of compensation, as part of the pilot scheme described below. This note also sets out how assessment of the building in question is processed alongside a BPN.
The advice note also gives information on the two-year pilot scheme which Historic England is running (from November 2018) to explore the benefits of indemnification of BPNs, to promote engagement with the powers available and provide confidence against the likelihood of claims for compensation. The pilot scheme has now been extended for an additional year, and is therefore due to end in November 2021.
Compensation may be payable in certain circumstances in the event that a building, on which a BPN has been served, is not listed. To remove the financial risk this poses for LPAs, Historic England may, in some circumstances and if the procedure below is followed, consider indemnifying local planning authorities against that possibility as part of the pilot project into indemnification against compensation.
Need more information?
- Read the Principles of Selection for Listed Buildings that sets out the general principles applied when deciding whether a building is of special architectural or historic interest and should therefore be added to the NHLE
- Read the Scheduled Monuments Policy Statement that sets out current Government policy on the identification, protection, conservation and investigation of nationally important ancient monuments
- Take a look at our Selection Guides which help to explain what we are looking for when we assess applications for inclusion on the NHLE
- Take a look at our Introductions to Heritage Assets
- See our Frequently Asked Questions
- Take a look at our examples of completed applications below