Listed buildings criteria

The purpose of this information is to set the basis for identifying locally listed buildings for Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council.

Local listing is a means for a local community and a local authority to jointly decide what it is in their area that they would recognise as a “Local Heritage Asset”. The purpose of a local list is to enable better protection of those parts of the historic environment that the community genuinely values, and also provides clarity to developers as to where those heritage assets are located and critically what it is about them that is worth conserving.

Blackburn’s historic environment can make an important contribution to successful place making and increases a community’s sense of place. It has also been proven to have a positive impact on economic activity. The preparation of a local list will identify the most locally significant elements of Blackburn’ historic environment and where possible their revitalisation will enhance the image and quality of the local environment.

National policy

The National Planning Policy Framework provides protection through the planning system for “Heritage Assets” in England. Heritage assets may be listed buildings, scheduled monuments, or may be undesignated assets. Local listings constitute undesignated heritage assets that are recognised by the local authority as having heritage significance meriting consideration in planning matters. They can be buildings, sites, structures, places or landscapes. Significance is a term used to identify the value of a heritage asset to this and future generations because of its heritage interest. The interest may be archaeological, artistic or historic.

Locally listing a heritage asset does not in itself bring any additional consent requirements, However their status as locally listed heritage assets will mean that their conservation and contribution to the area will be a material consideration when making planning decisions that directly affect them or their setting. Where demolition is sought for a building at present prior approval is required through the planning department which will then determine if a planning application is necessary. There are no operational changes with regard to locally listed buildings but there is support from local policy 39 in the Local Plan Part 2 which would form the basis for assessing proposals. The Policy states that the demolition of undesignated heritage assets having local significance to be resisted unless the benefits of a proposed development clearly outweigh the loss of significance, or a scheme to better reveal or interpret the significance would mitigate against the loss of significance.

The relevant policies in the National Planning Policy Framework are set out below:

Policy 126

Local Planning Authorities should set out a positive strategy for the conservation and enjoyment of the historic environment, including heritage assets most at risk through neglect, decay or other threats. In doing so they should recognise that heritage assets are an irreplaceable resource and conserve them in a manner appropriate to their significance.

Policy 135

The effect of an application on the significance of a non- designated heritage asset should be taken into account in determining the application. In weighing applications that affect directly or indirectly non designated heritage assets, a balanced judgement will be required having regard to the scale of any harm or loss and the significance of the heritage asset.

Local policy

The Core Strategy for Blackburn with Darwen (adopted January 2011) states that a local list of important building and features will be developed.

Policy CS17 on Built and Cultural Heritage in the Core Strategy States:

Proposals for new development should identify and take advantage of opportunities to integrate with and promote the Borough’s cultural assets. These assets will include but are not limited to:

  1. Features signifying the history of the Borough.
  2. Landscapes
  4. Cultural facilities

Where important buildings or features exist in areas of change, new development will be required to be designed with the buildings or features as a focus. Ways in which this might be achieved include but are not limited to:

  • Retaining, reusing or converting key buildings.
  • Enhancing the setting and views of buildings through appropriate layout of new development and design of the public realm.
  • Designing new development to fit and strengthen the urban “grain” created by historic buildings.

It also states that buildings and features which are of local importance will be protected from inappropriate change or development.

Policy 39 section 5 of the Local Plan Part 2 refers to undesignated heritage assets of local significance and states: ‘ Where an undesignated heritage asset has been identified by the Council as having local significance and planning permission would be required for its demolition permission would not be granted:

  1. The benefits of the proposed development clearly outweigh the loss of significance; or
  2. The loss of significance can be mitigated by a scheme to better reveal or interpret the significance of the asset; or, if this is demonstrably not possible, by an appropriate scheme of recording the asset in its original condition prior to the commencement of any work.’

The preparation of a local list is a key priority of the Council’s Heritage Strategy 2011-2016.

Why have a local list

The Borough’s distinctiveness is a product of its rich and varied cultural and built heritage, only a small proportion of this is protected through listed buildings or within conservation areas. Clearly there are many other buildings, or structures from an architectural, historic or social viewpoint that contribute significantly to the visual amenities of the local area which fail to meet the strict criteria for listing. These buildings or structures may be particularly important to a local community, represent local vernacular architecture, or be local landmarks and curiosities. Better protection of our most valued and significant heritage assets can reinforce local character, contribute to an improved sense of place, and can often drive up standards of design.

Selection Criteria

Blackburn with Darwen has a distinctive heritage with an early period of growth in the eighteenth century as weaving hamlets were replaced by new processes. A more substantial period of growth in the nineteenth century saw the rapid expansion of the urban areas as a result of the growth of cotton manufacturing. The pre-industrial community was predominantly agricultural characterised by stone built hamlets and farming communities, many of which survive in the Pennines and open countryside but some have also been engulfed in the urban areas. Blackburn became an important cotton manufacturing town in the late nineteenth century that gave rise to mills and densely built terraces which has left a distinctive surviving legacy.

The selection criteria below have been adapted from guidance provided by English Heritage on local lists and in order to give an appropriate representation of locally important heritage assets in the Borough. A specific category has been created for industrial buildings of the eighteenth and nineteenth century, in order to reflect a very important period of growth in the Borough’ history and one which left a significant built legacy.

Age/ rarity

Buildings or sites in this category are likely to predate 1850 or are a particular rare example of a building or landscape type. Generally buildings surviving in this category will be a good example of a building/site type.

Historic association

Buildings or sites in this category will have some evidential association with a notable person or event. This could either be a direct representation of a particular event or group of people or by historical use of a building. Blue Plaques can be a good source for this category.

Industrial building or site of eighteenth or nineteenth century origin

Buildings of this type represent an important period in the development of Blackburn with Darwen especially with the expansion of cotton manufacturing. Buildings sites or structures must be in a good condition, have some architectural merit, demonstrate an important process or represent a complete site. Scoring will be 1-2 points, a higher score will require buildings to be in a good condition and visually distinctive.

Visual or townscape value

Buildings, landscapes or structures in this category will have an important presence in the street scene, have group value or be of landmark status. They will generally have striking aesthetic value.

Architectural value

Buildings or structures, that are striking architectural examples. They should also demonstrate construction methods and materials that contribute to the distinctiveness of the area, such as the use of watershot stone work, or represent a particularly ornate and attractive elevation.

Archaeological interest

Heritage assets in this category will contain archaeological remains and contribute information on the historical development of the area. In some cases the structures or buildings could represent an important process, or activity that contributes to the architectural

Buildings nominated should generally fall into three or more categories and score over 6 points to be eligible for selection in the local list. Each category scores 2 points.

What type of assets can be identified

The Historic Environment Record (HER) has already identified many buildings and structures of local historic interest and should be consulted initially prior to the submission of an application for both designated and undesignated assets. The HER however is by no means exhaustive and there may be other heritage assets of local importance to include in a local list.

Buildings and structures can take many forms some types are indentified below.


A large part of the borough to the south and west is predominantly rural and buildings or hamlets may hold significance in terms of their architecture or historic role in the area such as barns or dovecotes.


Commemorative structures can include memorials, statues, tombs or grave stones and can have importance in terms of their contribution to local identity and in their aesthetic qualities.


These can be either shops public houses or offices and can make a valuable contribution to the local scene as well as having important physical attributes. Public houses for example may have some value to the local community as well being landmark buildings.


Surviving Industrial buildings and structures such as mills and chimneys are historically significant to the character of the Borough. They may have significance because of their architectural style, design, construction materials or what they manufactured and the importance this has to the locality. They should also generally have townscape value.


These are the most numerous of buildings and structures in the historic environment and where they express an identifiable historic style and retain much of their original fabric are likely to be considered as a heritage asset especially where they from a group.

Parks and gardens

Landscapes created to provide a visually pleasing setting to private residences or institutions can be considered as heritage assets. They can include cemeteries, walled private gardens or represent a designed landscape or garden by a notable person.

Street furniture

he character of the street scene is greatly enriched by historic street furniture and historic surfaces. Examples can include lamp posts, telephone kiosks or boundary walls. Many of these should have artistic, architectural or historic significance in order to be considered as heritage assets.

The following sources of information will be useful to refer to when considering and identifying heritage assets for nomination.

  • Historic Environment Record (Held at Lancashire County Council)
  • Character studies ( such as conservation area appraisals)
  • Historic landscape and urban characterisation studies (LCC)
  • Lists of former grade 3 listed buildings.
  • Garden Trusts
  • Pevsner Architectural Guide for Lancashire North.
  • Heritage trails

Process for nominating assets on the local list

A range of methods can be used to identify assets, such as using existing research publications, and public nomination The most robust lists are those built on a strong partnership between local authorities, community representatives and other interested parties that reflect the breadth of opinion on the historic environment in the area. It is proposed that two approaches be adopted for the Borough:

  • Working in partnership with heritage groups the local authority develops a list from existing.
  • Public nomination of heritage assets to be invited from the public through the media, web sites, and cultural centres. A similar approach could be adopted that was used for the call for development sites. It is proposed to prepare a nomination form that sets out the information that is required in support of the asset, and also sets out the selection criteria and other issues respecting the privacy of asset owners and occupiers. The nomination period should be approximately a period of 3 months. This should give sufficient time to research and collate information on the assets.

The type of information that should accompany the nomination of an asset for local listing should include:

  • A statement of significance: a brief statement that describes the significance of the asset and how it meets the selection criteria.
  • Location details: Ordnance Survey (OS) grid references and street address.
  • Photographs: a visual recording of the asset from the public realm, and if necessary any significant internal shots.

Validating the list

It is proposed that a selection panel be set up to assess the suitability of an asset for local listing. Membership of the panel should be drawn from local authority members, officers, amenity society and members of the public/businesses.

Before ratification of the local list, it is important that the short list is presented to the public for comment. Comments received will also help in assessing the suitability of the asset for inclusion on the local list. Owners of proposed assets may wish to challenge their inclusion, and assessing appeals should fall to the selection panel. There should however be a presumption in favour of adopting an asset and should only be removed if it does not meet the selection criteria.

The final list will then be ratified by the Executive Board for Regeneration, and published as a Supplementary Planning Document. It would also be advisable that all assets are recorded on a GIS map base and the information is made accessible on line.

Reviewing the Local List

A regular programme for reviewing the list will need to be considered so as it remains relevant. A period of 5 years or less or when nomination of new assets are proposed is recommended.


  • English Heritage: Good Practice Guide for Local Listing; Identifying and Managing Significant Local Heritage Assets. Draft for consultation February 2011
  • Core Strategy Blackburn with Darwen January 2011
  • National Planning Policy Framework (DCLG))