War Memorials Trust

Why list and what qualifies

Why list war memorials?

War Memorials Trust encourages the listing of war memorials as a way of providing legal protection for these monuments. A listed war memorial is immediately protected by law, and any changes to it must first receive listed building consent. Its details also become part of the public record through the Statutory List entry.

Listing a war memorial does not mean that changes or alterations cannot be made. It ensures that any changes or alterations respect the character of the war memorial and that the case for its preservation is fully taken into account when any redevelopment plans are considered.

War Memorials Trust will submit applications to list war memorials where it feels it is appropriate. Listing applications can also be made by members of the public who, locally, are often in a better position to provide the information required about the history and background of a war memorial.

What is listed building consent?

Listed building consent is required if certain types of work are going to be undertaken on a listed building. Being listed does not prevent works being undertaken it purely means that some works may require consent to ensure they are appropriate to the structure. War Memorials Trust believes this is important as it enables due consideration of any proposals to ensure they are appropriate for the long-term preservation of the war memorial.

Undertaking works to a listed building without appropriate consents is a criminal offence and you could be prosecuted.

Listing building consent is generally granted by the local planning authority, although in some circumstances the national heritage body may be involved. Your first step should be to consult your local planning authority, normally the Conservation or Planning Officer, to seek advice.

What is eligible for listing? 

To be eligible for listing a war memorial would normally need to be freestanding i.e. not attached to anything else. This means that war memorial plaques attached to buildings cannot be listed in their own right. Also, utilitarian or functional memorials (e.g. village halls, pavilions or hospitals) may incorporate memorial inscription panels, but are first and foremost buildings and need to be judged for listing against the listing standards of the relevant building type. They cannot, therefore, be listed purely because they are war memorials.

In general the criteria used for listing are:

  • architectural interest: works of well known architects or examples of structures which are important for their architectural design, decoration, craftsmanship and materials employed
  • historic interest: structures that illustrate important aspects of the nation's social, economic, cultural, industrial or military history or structures that have a close historical association with nationally important buildings, events or people
  • group value: where buildings comprise an important architectural/historic group/streetscape or are a fine example of planning

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