Following the news in early February 2023 that the German Naval Batterie Strassburg at Jerbourg has been designated as a ‘Grade A protected building’, we thought it may help to briefly revisit why certain buildings are protected in the island.

The starting point is that they have a ‘special interest’ which warrants a higher level of protection through the Land Planning and Development (Guernsey) Law, 2005 and the Land Planning and Development (Special Controls) Ordinance, 2007.

‘Special interest’ includes various characteristics either in isolation, or together, such as age, architecture, history, historical association or even innovative building techniques. The whole of a building can be listed, or just the exterior, or the façade, for example.

In the case of the Naval Batterie Strassburg, it is made up of 64 Second World War architectural features and it formed part of the ‘Atlantic Wall’. Deputy Victoria Oliver, the president of the Development and Planning Authority (DPA), said of the listing, ‘part of the DPA’s role is to protect and preserve our island’s heritage, look, feel and culture’, and the structure now joins around 1,600 other protected buildings in the island.

The level of protection afforded to local listed buildings is such that it means the requirements to deal with them are significantly more burdensome than for non-listed properties. There is, for example, an express legal requirement to obtain planning permission for any alterations, extensions, and many types of repair.

The incentives to comply with the planning law in the context of protected buildings and monuments is clear.  It is a criminal offence to demolish, extend or alter such a property without first obtaining planning permission, and the penalty for doing so can be a fine of up to £50,000 or imprisonment.

The DPA have produced a helpful guidance note on the subject entitled ‘Conservation Advice Note 1: Your Protected Building (CN1-January 2022)located here.

Helpfully, members of the public are able to check the listing status of a property here.

For more technical information, readers are recommended to look at ‘Conservation Advice Note 6: Criteria for the Selection of the Buildings for the Protected Buildings List (CN6-May 2016)’ and also ‘Conservation Advice Note 7: Decision Making Procedure for the Review of the Protected Buildings List (CN7-May 2016)’, the details of which are here:

Criteria for the selection of buildings for the Protected Buildings list

Decision-making procedure for the review of the Protected Buildings list

Whilst the subject matter is complex, the advice concerning protected building is clear.  If in doubt, take professional advice about any plans for the structure and if in doubt, assume that planning permission will be needed.

For help and assistance with any Guernsey and UK property matter generally, please feel free to contact us.

Author Alastair Hargreaves Advocate, Solicitor & Managing Partner
Author Anna Douglass Solicitor & Counsel