Special Interest Statutory Criteria
Taken from Planning Policy Guidance Note 15: Planning and the Historic Environment as amended by Circular PP992 on 8 March 2007
6.9 The Secretary of State uses the following criteria when assessing whether a building is of special interest and therefore should be added to the statutory list:
- Architectural Interest.
To be of special architectural interest a building must be of importance in its architectural design, decoration or craftsmanship; special interest may also apply to nationally important examples of particular building types and techniques (e.g. buildings displaying technological innovation or virtuosity) and significant plan forms;
- Historic Interest
To be of special historic interest a building must illustrate important aspects of the nation’s social, economic, cultural, or military history and/or have close historical associations with nationally important people. There should normally be some quality of interest in the physical fabric of the building itself to justify the statutory protection afforded by listing.
6.10 When making a listing decision, the Secretary of State may take into account the extent to which the exterior contributes to the architectural or historic interest of any group of buildings of which it forms part. This is generally known as group value. The Secretary of State will take this into account particularly where buildings comprise an important architectural or historic unity or a fine example of planning (e.g. squares, terraces or model villages) or where there is a historical functional relationship between a group of buildings. If a building is designated because of its group value, protection applies to the whole of the property, not just the exterior.
6.11 In considering whether a building is of special architectural or historic interest the Secretary of State may take into account the desirability of preserving, on the grounds of its architectural or historic interest, any feature of the building containing a manmade object or structure fixed to the building or forming part of the land and comprised within the curtilage of the building. The desirability of preserving such a feature is a factor which would increase the likelihood of the building being listed. However, in the absence of any other aspects of special architectural or historic interest, such features will justify the listing of the building only if they are of themselves of sufficient interest to render the building of special interest. The provision can be used for a variety of features; examples could include a finely panelled sixteenth century room, a fireplace and over-mantel that has been introduced from another building, or an elaborate plaster ceiling. This provision cannot be used to preserve in situ anything that is not a fixture, such as furniture or paintings, (see also paragraphs 3.30 – 3.36 in PPG15).
General Principles of Selection
6.12 Age and rarity.
The older a building is, and the fewer the surviving examples of its kind, the more likely it is to have special interest. The following chronology is meant as a guide to assessment; the dates are indications of likely periods of interest and are not absolute. The relevance of age and rarity will vary according to the particular type of building because for some types, dates other than those outlined below are of significance. However, the general principles used are that:
- before 1700, all buildings that contain a significant proportion of their original fabric are listed;
- from 1700 to 1840, most buildings are listed;
- after 1840, because of the greatly increased number of buildings erected and the much larger numbers that have survived, progressively greater selection is necessary;
- buildings of less than 30 years old are normally listed only if they are of outstanding quality and under threat.
6.13 Aesthetic merits.
The appearance of a building – both its intrinsic architectural merit and any group value – is a key consideration in judging listing proposals, but the special interest of a building will not always be reflected in obvious external visual quality. Buildings that are important for reasons of technological innovation, or as illustrating particular aspects of social or economic history, may have little external visual quality.
Where a building qualifies for listing primarily on the strength of its special architectural interest, the fact that there are other buildings of similar quality elsewhere is not likely to be a major consideration. However, a building may be listed primarily because it represents a particular historical type in order to ensure that examples of such a type are preserved. Listing in these circumstances is largely a comparative exercise and needs to be selective where a substantial number of buildings of a similar type and quality survive. In such cases, the Secretary of State’s policy is to list only the most representative or most significant examples of the type.
6.15 National interest.
The emphasis in these criteria is to establish consistency of selection to ensure that not only are all buildings of strong intrinsic architectural interest included on the list, but also the most significant or distinctive regional buildings that together make a major contribution to the national historic stock. For instance, the best examples of local vernacular buildings will normally be listed because together they illustrate the importance of distinctive local and regional traditions. Similarly, for example, some buildings will be listed because they represent a nationally important but localised industry, such as shoemaking in Northamptonshire or cotton production in Lancashire.
6.16 State of repair.
The state of repair of a building is not a relevant consideration when deciding whether a building meets the test of special interest. The Secretary of State will list a building which has been assessed as meeting the statutory criteria, irrespective of its state of repair.