What You Need To Know About Business Signs and Listed Buildings

When it comes to installing signs on listed buildings or in conservation areas, there is a lot you need to take into account. There tend to be more rules and regulations for signs and advertisements when it comes to conservation areas and listed buildings, so it’s important to ensure you’re following these. 

Not following the rules or failing to get relevant permissions when putting up business signs on listed buildings can mean you face fines, have to remove your signs or end up paying for new ones that do adhere to the rules. 

Here are some things you need to know about signs when it comes to listed buildings and conservation areas.

Do you need permission for signs on listed buildings?

If you’re opening a new business in a listed building or are refurbishing your existing premises, you may need to get permission for your signage. Listed buildings or conservation areas may require you to get planning permission, advertising consent or listed building consent to update or install new signs. 

This is because business signs on these buildings or in these areas need to complement their historic character. They also need to be seen as improving the appearance of the area rather than detracting from it. 

The permission type you need can be different from one area to another as different councils may have different processes. This is why it is important to check the regulations in your local area to ensure that you are following them correctly and applying for the right permissions. 

In most cases, the permissions regarding businesses in listed buildings and conservation areas follow similar rules. 

Planning permission

If you are extending or altering a listed building, you will likely require planning permission. Alterations can include things like:

  • Adding awnings
  • Installing shutters
  • Replacing the doors or windows
  • Creating a shopfront
  • Altering the roof
  • Installing a satellite dish

Advertisement consent

If you are replacing existing signage, either because you are taking over a business premises, are rebranding or simply need to update your signs, you may need advertisement consent. The same goes if you are planning on adding additional signage, even if this is just an A-board outside your business.

You may also need advertising consent for lighting within conservation areas, as this can affect the look and feel of an area. This can include illuminated external signs but also illuminated signs within your business if they are visible through windows. 

Listed building consent

If you are undertaking work that could alter the appearance or the character of a listed building, this could mean you need to get listed building consent first. This is similar to planning permission in terms of the things that it covers, so you’ll need to check which is the right permission for your building and the local area. 

Listed building consent can cover:

  • Replacement business signs
  • New windows and/or doors
  • Alarm boxes
  • External lighting
  • Installing a satellite dish
  • Changing the colour of the property

You may require listed building consent for changes being made inside your business premises, as well as external signage. 

What types of signs can you display on a listed building?

As with the types of permissions you need for signs on listed buildings or in conservation areas, the style of signs you can choose will likely change depending on your local council. The design, size and materials may all need to follow strict rules to be allowed and to fit with the look and feel of your property.

You may have to ensure your signage follows rules including:

  • The material they are made of
  • How they are displayed
  • How many signs you can have
  • The design of your sign e.g. individual letters or fascia signs
  • Illumination

This doesn’t mean that you can’t install signs that fit your brand and business though. Here at GeeTee, we can work any rules you need to follow to design signs that reflect your business but also meet the requirements of listed buildings in your area. 

How do you design a sign for a listed building?

While the requirements for your signage will affect the design, there are a few principles that should be kept in mind when designing business signage for listed buildings and conservation areas. 

  • Use materials that keep with the period of the building, such as wood rather than acrylic
  • Respect the character of the building and neighbouring buildings
  • Keep it simple
  • Don’t go too big with lettering
  • Keep the identity simple to work with your brand
  • Use a sign designer to ensure best practices are followed

While there are more rules you’ll need to follow, sign design for listed buildings will largely be the same as for other buildings to ensure every sign makes the right impact.

What happens if you don’t get permission or your signs don’t meet regulations?

If you install business signs that you haven’t got the right permission for or that don’t follow the design requirements of your local area, the council can serve you with an enforcement notice. This means that you’ll have to remove the signage or alter it so it does follow the rules or you have the relevant permissions. 

Failure to comply with an enforcement notice may result in the council taking you to court as it is a criminal offence to carry out work that can damage the architectural or historic importance of a listed building. 

If you need to design a sign for a business in a conservation area or listed building but aren’t sure where to start, get in touch with our team today and we can help you. Call us on 0115 976 1188 or email us at sales@geeteesigns.com.