Listed buildings are designated by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, who has a statutory duty under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 to compile a list of buildings of special architectural historic interest. The list is administered by Historic England.
All matters relating to proposals for the repair, alteration, extension, redevelopment or demolition of listed buildings in Southampton are the responsibility of Southampton City Council's Conservation Officer.
There are over 450 listed buildings in Southampton ranging from the 12th-century Medieval Merchants' House on French Street to Wyndham Court, the 1960s block of flats opposite the Central Railway Station. The list also includes some memorials and other structures.
Listed buildings are classified by the following grades to show their relative importance:
- Grade I these are buildings of exceptional interest
- Grade II* these are buildings of more than special interest
- Grade II these are particularly important buildings of special interest, which warrant every effort being made to preserve them.
Some listed buildings are also scheduled monuments.
Listing covers the whole of the building, both inside and out, not just the facades. Sometimes outbuildings or features within the curtilage of the building may also be protected. Listed Building Consent is usually required for any works to a listed building. Unauthorised work can lead to prosecution in the Magistrates Court, and/or the Crown Court, resulting in an unlimited fine or imprisonment. More information can be found in Works to listed buildings and Listed Building Consent pages.
National policy on listed buildings is contained in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). Southampton City Council's policy is outlined in the Local Plan (policy HE3).