Demolition of Historic Buildings

Policy & Legislation

Historic Environment Policy for Scotland (HEPS)

We collectively have a duty of care for our historic environment. The Historic Environment Policy for Scotland (HEPS) outlines how we should undertake this duty whenever a decision will affect the historic environment. It sets out a policy statement for decision making for the whole of the historic environment, and is used at national and local levels, from funding decisions to applications to wind farms.


Managing Changing: Demolition of Listed Buildings – Historic Environment Scotland

This document is part of a series of non-statutory guidance notes about managing change in the historic environment. They explain how to apply the policies in the Historic Environment Policy for Scotland (HEPS).

This guidance should be used when the future of a listed building is uncertain and demolition is being considered as an option. It should not be used in isolation and Historic Environment Scotland (HES) have provided guidance on the use and adaptation of listed buildings to be used alongside this guidance.

Ding it Doon: A guide to the policy and legislative processes of demolition (May 2009) – Scottish Civic Trust

This briefing note seeks to clarify the policy position of the demolition of  buildings. It will address both the planning and building warrant processes, and cover all buildings and structures, whether listed or not. Its purpose is not to comment on the suitability of demolition or otherwise, but to merely inform on the regulatory issues surrounding demolition per se.

Case Studies

Our views

These letters are examples of letters SCT has written in response to Listed Building Consent and Conservation Area Consent applications to demolish buildings.

Use them to help you frame your own comments on a planning application, and to better understand how historic environment policy and guidance can be used to support your comments. 

Demolition of Clayton House, St Andrews (November 2021)

Listed building consent was requested for the demolition of this 19th century C-listed house on the outskirts of St Andrews. Scottish Civic Trust commented that the interior decoration of the building appeared to be in good condition and that it should be added to the Buildings at Risk Register. The planning application for demolition of Clayton House was subsequently refused.

Demolition of Perth City Halls (July 2011 and March 2014)
A category B-listed building in Perth owned by the local authority. A complex case due to the ownership of the site. The case was referred to Historic Environment Scotland, who refused the Council permission to demolish. See more on the details of the case at Historic Scotland’s website here. This case is ongoing.

Demolition of Seafield House (Jan 2012)
A Category B-listed building in Ayr on the Buildings at Risk Register

Demolition of Ashvilla, Old Deer (May 2009)
Retrospective application to demolish an unlisted house in a conservation area. This application was subsequently refused, and refused again at appeal, with the applicants being required to reinstate a traditional dwelling house on the site.

Demolition of Station Court Home, Kirkcaldy – Oct 2008 and August 2010
An application to demolish an unlisted building on a prominent site in a conservation area. The original application was for a facade retention scheme, requiring the demolition of the majority of the rear of the building. The Trust then commented on various schemes, including one for total demolition in 2010. Permission was granted with conditions in 2014 for alterations and partial demolition to convert the building to residential use.