Demolition of Historic Buildings

Policy & Legislation

Scottish Historic Environment Policy (SHEP)

The Scottish Historic Environment Policy (SHEP) sets out Scottish Ministers’ policies, providing direction for Historic Scotland and a policy framework that informs the work of a wide range of public sector organisations.

SHEP contains details of the processes for applications for Listed Building Consent and Conservation Area Consent for the demolition of buildings of merit. The four tests, found in page 41, paragraph 3.44, set out the justification required from any applicant proposing demolition of a listed building.

See pages 39-43.


Historic Scotland Managing Change Guidance Note – Demolition

Historic Scotland’s series of Managing Change in the Historic Environment Guidance Notes explain how to apply the policies contained in the  Scottish Historic Environment Policy (SHEP) and The Scottish Planning Policy (SPP).

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

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 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 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.