Planning Consent Requirements

Header Updated 12 March 2018

Planning Consent Requirements

Reading Borough contains over 850 listed buildings and two scheduled ancient monuments .

Reading Borough Council published guidance on Listed buildings a few years ago. Whilst some of the contact details are out of date the information provided is still totally valid. It may be accessed via the link; Listed Buildings in Reading a Guide by RBC

Listed Buildings have additional protection in law. You can make changes, but you may need to apply for “Listed Building Consent”, and you will need to be careful when carrying out work that could affect the character of the building.

Historic England have published a most useful and comprehensive guide for Owners of Listed buildings; HE Guidance on Listed Buildings

The Sunday Times Home on 18 February 2018 provided accessible information:

Reading also has a list of Locally Important Heritage buildings which also require consent equivalent to Listed Building Consent though they have no statutory protection.  Locally Important Structures.

Whilst applications for Planning Permission are charged for Reading Borough Council does not charge for processing applications for Listed Building Consent alone.

You are likely to need Listed Building Consent for:

  • alterations (inside or out) or extensions which, in the opinion of the Council, are likely to affect the appearance or character of a Listed Building;
  • alterations or extensions to buildings, objects or structures (including gates and walls) within the curtilage of a Listed Building;
  • demolition of a building, object or structure which is listed or is within the curtilage of a Listed Building. This can include the removal of only part of such buildings (even a chimney stack, door, window or a garden wall);
  • any new structure which will be physically linked to a Listed Building.

Examples of work which usually require Listed Building Consent include:

  • the painting of stonework or brickwork
  • the addition of render or cladding
  • the replacement of existing doors or windows
  • changes to the roof covering and other external features
  • the alteration or removal of beams, fireplaces, staircases, porches, shutters or other old features (inside or out)
  • the erection of signs, security equipment or satellite antennae.

This list is not exhaustive.

It is a criminal offence to carry out work which requires Listed Building Consent without consent having first been obtained (even if you did not know that the building was listed). Carrying out unauthorised work is punishable by a fine or prison sentence, and it can also result in a “Listed Building Enforcement Notice” requiring the reinstatement of those features which have been altered or removed.

Do I need Listed Building Consent to do work inside my listed building?

Regular maintenance and “like for like” repairs do not need listed building consent, but this would be required if the repairs include removal of historic material or changes to its character.

For example,  refurbishment involving the removal of internal features, such as historic doors, fireplaces, plaster work, panelling or other original fittings constitutes alterations. Replacement of original /historic external doors or windows also constitutes alterations.  All cases of “alterations” listed building consent is required before work is carried out.

Painting and internal decorating does not need Listed Building Consent but any external painting may require consent as it may affect the character of the Listed Building.

Replacement of modern kitchen and bathroom fittings does not require consent.

Applications for Planning Permission and for Listed Building Consent

You are likely to need planning permission for new buildings and for major changes to existing properties and the local environment. You also probably need permission to carry out minor work on listed buildings, in conservation areas or on trees protected by preservation orders.

Applications should be made via the Planning Portal well in advance of the works commencing.  Reading Council plans to turn round applications within Reading Borough Council 8 weeks for minor developments and 13 weeks for major developments

The Planning Portal- do you need permission

Listed Building Consents

I just need advice at this stage on whether I need LBC

Unless you are very knowledgeable it is better to submit an enquiry well before you plan to undertake the work, even if you do not have full details.

Unfortunately Reading Council Planning Department are not able to deal in detail with general telephone enquiries about whether Listed Building Consent is required or questions about the works planned.

There is a  pre-application service which provides advice to help owners make sensible, realistic and successful planning applications. The Pre-Application form may be reached;  r pdf icon pre-application enquiry form  .  There is a fee of £144 including VAT for this service.  It can however save you time and money in the long run.

Conservation Officer

Since  2019 Reading Council has employed a fulltime Conservation and Urband Design Officer who may be asked to give an opinion on  applications for Listed Building Consent.   This is a huge improvement over its approach for many years of having a CO for one day a week . Access is through the Planning Case Officer who takes on your application for advice or consent.


Notice of planned changes to Listed Buildings (and other Planning Applications) are advised by the Planning Case Officer fixing a Yellow notice to the building.  This enables members of the public to find out about the changes and to either support them, object or raise questions if they wish.

If you spot changes being made to a Listed Building, or a building in a Conservation Area, which you believe require consent and you have not seen the yellow planning notice then you should report this to the Enforcement Team.

If you believe action is required urgently, e.g. to halt the removal of original windows, then you should call the Senior Enforcement Officer on 0118 937 4424.

Further information can be accessed:

Download the  pdf icon Local Planning Enforcement Plan to see how RBC deals with breaches of planning control.

RBCs online form may also be used to report breaches of planning control.

Other sources of Information

Historic Towns and Villages Forum website provides a publication which explains the process:

Recent Posts

Station Retail Park development plans submitted

Station Retail Park Development (the TGI Fridays/ ALDI/ Majestic Wine Warehouse site), Caversham Road / Vastern Road. Application for Outline Planning Consent now submitted.

The initial design for the development which will run along Vastern Road and Caversham Road.

3 April 2020 An application for Outline Planning Consent has been submitted for this site No 200328. The link to the application on RBCs Planning site is HERE

A final exhibition was held on 30 & 31 October 2019.  The link HERE takes you to information about the proposals. On Social Media there are understandable concerns from local residents about the loss of the supermarket and other facilities, which will not be replaced for 5 years (the expected time the scheme will take to complete). If taken to completion this scheme will add some 900 flats and some office space with retail on the ground floors. The scheme raised a lot of opposition from people living in Caversham the company commented after the exhibition that “Most of the 220 comments came from Caversham residents and 70% objected.” The Reading on Thames Nov 2019 blog commented The height of the tall building has been pointlessly shrunk to placate the moaners from Caversham Heights.”

On 21 January members of the RCS committee, the CAAC and CADRA met Barton Willmore, the advisors behind the scheme, high up in the Blade to gain a better understanding of what is proposed here. When we meet developers and their agents in this way there is an agreement about confidentiality. It would not however be any surprise that as the site is owned by AVIVA (pension company) that Barton Willmore are developing a scheme which will lead to an Outline Planning Application, the site will then be sold on to a developer who will submit a detailed application with a view to implementation. We were given to understand that the leases on the sites end from 2021 to 2025. It will probably take up to 2 years to work up an outline planning application which gains consent so it is understandable why the scheme has been raised now.

The concerns we raised with BW included: how would construction be undertaken, would the whole site be worked on at the same time or would it work block by block as each lease came to and end (difficult either way), the challenges of all the construction traffic serving developments on Station Hill, SSE, Reading Metropolitan and this site all at pretty much the same time, the closeness of the accommodation blocks to each other, views though the site from the station to the Thames, how the design of the 3 nearby development sites work together (SSE Vastern Road, Reading Metropolitan (the former GPO Sorting Office)), pollution from the nearby road, the accumulated impact of the town centre developments on Healthcare facilities, what social facilities would be provided to build communities, are the units for sale or rent, affordable element? We have been offered a return discussion when there is more information.

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