HE2: Historic building restoration

Find out about eligibility and requirements for the historic building restoration item.

This item is not currently available.

How much will be paid

Up to 80% of actual costs.

Where to use this item

Available for Higher Tier

Only on roofed buildings, identified as a priority by Natural England for funding within Countryside Stewardship, that will be repaired in line with historic building restoration guidance principles. These are:

  • non-residential buildings built with traditional materials and methods in a characteristic local, vernacular or ‘designed’ architectural style
  • ornamental or architecturally designed buildings – for example, those on model farms, or in parklands or designed landscapes
  • ‘transitional buildings’, buildings that show the introduction of modern materials, but are otherwise in traditional materials, style and function - written support from a Natural England historic environment adviser will be needed
  • buildings of historic significance, whether traditional or later construction - for example, late-19th to early-20th century Dutch barns (curved head barns), mine buildings or military buildings, such as World War 2 pillboxes
  • unconverted historic buildings used in ways they were not originally designed for, but without affecting the historic integrity and character - for example, light industrial, educational access or livery use

Where this item cannot be used

  • for agreements starting January 2018
  • on modern buildings made from concrete, timber or steel frames and clad in materials such as concrete, breeze blocks, tiles, fibre cement sheeting or profiled metal sheeting
  • on structures such as bridges
  • on ruined buildings (more than 50% of the building has been lost)
  • on converted historic buildings - such as to residential, holiday accommodation or commercial use - or a home’s ancillary building, such as garages
  • on buildings previously funded under an agri-environment scheme

How this item will benefit the environment

It is for conserving and lengthening the life of rural buildings that contribute to the character and enjoyment of the landscape and are of historic interest.

The work will prevent further decay to the fabric of historic buildings and benefit their long-term survival.


  • agree a specification with Natural England and then send at least 3 written quotations identifying all associated costs for completing the work in line with the specification
  • agree the selected quotation with Natural England
  • complete the work as set out in the approved specification within the agreed time
  • get any relevant consents before carrying out the work, such as scheduled monument consent from Historic England or listed building consent from the local planning authority

Protecting and maintaining the buildings

After the work has been completed the building will need to be protected and maintained in a weatherproof condition. This includes fixtures and fittings and nearby associated features, such as mounting blocks and stack or stook bases.

The character of the building, in its local setting, will need to be kept – with maintenance works and minor repairs carried out on a like-for-like basis using traditional material and methods.

Keeping records

Agreement holders will need to keep the following records and supply them on request:

  • any consents or permissions connected with the work
  • please see the record keeping and inspection requirements as set out in the Higher Tier manual for more detail

Agreement holders will need to keep the following records and supply them with the claim:

  • receipted invoices, or bank statements where a receipted invoice is not available
  • photographs of the site during the different stages of construction or contracts, invoices or other documents confirming the technical specification for the completed works
  • photographs of the completed works in place and installed

Applicants will need to send the following with their application:

  • the 3 quotes for completion of the work
  • photographs of the building
  • a Historic Buildings Information Form (available from Natural England) must be completed, and will be used to help assess the priority of buildings for funding.

The detailed requirements for this item will be tailored to the Higher Tier site. Higher Tier applicants should discuss and agree these requirements with their adviser.

Advice and suggestions for how to carry out this item

The following section gives advice on carrying out this item successfully but does not form part of the requirements for this item.

There is no standard specification for building restoration and all work will be tailored to the individual site. A specification will need to be agreed with Natural England.

Before applying for this item a management plan will normally be required to identify the restoration work and costs, and can be applied for through PA2 - Feasibility study.

Project planning

Guidance on restoring and repairing historic buildings will be available in 2016. It will explain which work is eligible and the repair principles to follow.

This item cannot be used for management plans for historic building restoration - use PA2 - Feasibility study.

Further information

Historic England has a guide to restoring and maintaining historic farm buildings.

There is a lot of competition for this capital item. Any buildings applied for will be assessed separately to identify the best and highest priority historic building restoration projects.

The assessment will include thinking about how the building:

  • adds to the area’s landscape character
  • can offer or retain wildlife habitat or nest sites
  • offers the public access

Natural England will also look at:

  • the sort of work that needs doing
  • how urgent the repair work is
  • whether Countryside Stewardship is the most appropriate grant for restoring the building - this is because it cannot be used to fund converting the building to an alternative use, such as residential or commercial use

See the Higher Tier manual to find out more about the scheme and how to apply.

Published 2 April 2015
Last updated 15 January 2018 + show all updates
  1. Changed to Standalone capital item - previously Higher Tier.
  2. Updated for 2017 applications.
  3. Information updated in March 2016.
  4. First published.