Many buildings are of interest, architecturally or historically, but for the purposes of designation as a listed building this interest must be ‘special’.
The Statutory Lists of Listed Buildings are compiled to give guidance to planning authorities in the course of their work by identifying buildings of special architectural or historic interest. They inform development, provide awareness of value and character and support the planning process. To become designated the property must satisfy criteria specified by the Scottish Ministers.
The criteria by which the Scottish Ministers define the necessary quality and character under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) (Scotland) Act 1997 are broadly:
- Age and rarity
- Architectural interest
- Close historical association
In order to be listed, a building does not need to be functioning for the purpose it was originally intended: for example, a redundant railway viaduct may have continued its life as a walkway or cycle path.
Similarly, the state of repair is not a relevant consideration. It only becomes a factor when the building’s condition has devalued the particular architectural or historic interest to the degree that it can no longer be regarded as special.
What does the listing include?
The listing applies to the whole building or structure at the address named on the list and always covers both the interior and exterior, regardless of category.
We are responsible for determining what is covered by the listing and whether or not other structures at the address may also be considered to be covered by the listing. The usual tests used to determine if curtilage applies are:
- Were the structures built before 1948?
- Were they in the same ownership as the main subject of listing at the time of listing?
- Do the structures clearly relate in terms of their (original) function to the main subject of the listing?
- Are the structures still related to the main subject on the ground?
Buildings are assigned to one of three categories according to their relative importance. All listed buildings receive equal legal protection. Protection applies to both the interior and exterior of all listed buildings regardless of category.
Buildings of national or international importance, either architectural or historic, or fine little-altered examples of some particular period, style or building type.
Buildings of regional or more than local importance, or major examples of some particular period, style or building type which may have been altered.
Buildings of local importance, lesser examples of any period, style, or building type, as originally constructed or moderately altered; and simple traditional buildings which group well with others in categories A and B.