View of street with historic houses, Saffron Walden, Essex.
Streetscape of Saffron Walden in the rural Essex countryside.
Streetscape of Saffron Walden in the rural Essex countryside.

Listing Selection Guides

Buildings and structures which meet the criteria for national protection are listed. This protection system has been in place since 1947 and operates under The Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.

Here you can learn more about our listing-specific selection guides as well as the associated Introduction to Heritage Assets series.

What the guides cover

The test for listing is architectural or historic special interest, with the final decision to list being taken by government (the Department for Culture, Media and Sport).

Our 20 thematically-arranged selection guides give detailed guidance about what may be eligible for listing. Each gives a brief overview of:

  • The types of buildings and structures covered in the guide
  • Current understanding, both of their history and development
  • In some cases, how many were erected and still survive

The second half of each document sets out the over-arching listing criteria, before moving on to offer guidance relevant to the specific buildings or structures treated. A select bibliography gives suggestions for further reading. The selection guides are periodically updated.

Understanding Special Historic Interest in Listing

Our Listing Selection Guides provide guidance on a wide range of building types, which can be helpful when considering special architectural interest. Special historic interest is about the connection between the building and the people who use or have used it, the things that happen or have happened there, the ideas that were developed there or the role that the building played in the nation’s history. Our guidance on understanding special historic interest in listing provides advice on how we might assess this, as well as examples to illustrate how these criteria looks in practice.

Introductions to Heritage Assets

The listing selection guides are supported by a series of Introductions to Heritage Assets (IHAs) which set out our understanding of particular building types. Normally these will be ones where, for one reason or another, we have had relatively large numbers of buildings in for assessment, and where the building type proved not to be covered in the existing literature.