Do I need listed building consent for internal alterations to my Grade II listed building ?
Yes you do. This is a common misunderstanding. All listed buildings,
irrespective of their listed grade status, CANNOT be altered INSIDE OR OUTSIDE, extended or demolished, unless listed building consent has been obtained through the Local Authority.
This also applies to any object or structure fixed to the listed building or which forms part of its historic curtilage.
I am buying a listed building and wish to make alterations to it. What will be allowed ?
Firstly, prior to purchase consult either someone like ourselves or the local
Conservation Officer to establish what alterations may be considered appropriate and acceptable within the confines of the protected building and curtilage.
Do not buy an old building unless you are prepared to accept its particular character and quirks. It is essential that you adapt to it rather than trying to impose inappropriate alterations and extensions on to it.
What are the implications of alterations without consent ?
It is a criminal offence to undertake such works and both you and your
building contractor commit an offence punishable by a fine of up to £20,000.00 and / or up to 6 months' imprisonment at County Court Level. At Crown Court the penalties can be an unlimited fine and up to 2 years' imprisonment.
In addition to the legal action further enforcement action in order to remedy the damage or reinstate the building as it was may be taken against the owner of the building (current owner) and there is no time limit for this enforcement action.
I am thinking of buying a listed house - how do I know if any unauthorised work has been carried out ?
In the first instance your solicitor or yourself should contact the Local
Authority to establish what listed building consent has been granted for works to the property and then compare this with what is found on site.
This is not always easy to decipher and it is therefore essential to employ someone like ourselves to inspect the property to try and identify such unauthorised work.
The obvious ones may be uPVC gutters, downpipes, windows, modern partitioning, kitchen fittings, etc, which must be checked against the Local Authority records.
It is important to note that, as with question 3 above, enforcement action is
without time limit and is taken against the current owner of the building.
Therefore, should you purchase the property without checking and clearing any unauthorised works, you will be responsible, and therefore liable, for remedying damage carried out by previous owners.
Is there any grant funding available to help me repair my property ?
Local Councils do operate discretionary grant schemes for appropriate repair but their resources are small and usually over-stretched. English Heritage grants are available for properties listed Grade II* and Grade I.
Certain criteria have to be met, however, and it is unusual for normal domestic listed structures to receive grant-aided repair work, particularly in the more rural areas. Heritage Lottery grant funding may be available if the buildings and settings can offer a public access and use but this is not available for private premises which are not open to the public.