Listed Buildings Do's & Don'ts
Chris Game of Plaice Design shares his knowledge of the do’s and don’ts when it comes to a listed building.
As an architect’s practice we often get commissioned to design, detail and manage works to listed buildings and since forming Plaice Design in Woodbridge six years ago, I have had the pleasure of visiting and working on a number of the listed properties in the town and surrounding villages.
Woodbridge is a very special and charming place, with over 330 listed buildings dotted throughout the town. Yet it still surprises me, how often the owners of a listed property have either had works undertaken without realising that consent was required, or have unknowingly inherited unauthorised works undertaken by a previous owner, when purchasing the property.
So, it seemed fitting I should write about listed buildings and common misconceptions.
- It is important to remember that a building’s listing does not only relate to the exterior of the property. When a building is listed, it is listed in its entirety, which means that both the exterior and the interior fabric are protected. In addition, any object or structure fixed to the building and any object or structure not fixed to the building, but within its curtilage and pre dating 1st July 1948, are all deemed as being part of the listing. So, be cautious before demolishing that outbuilding, removing that non-period studwork or converting that lean to outshot, without securing consent first.
- Generally speaking, if the proposed works involve demolition, alterations, or extensions that affect the character of the building, consent will be required. Unfortunately, character is a rather ambiguous word and is down to the interpretation of the Local Planning Authority (LPA). It is therefore wise to seek professional advice early on, or to check with your Local Planning Authority before commencing works.
- Carrying out work which needs listed building consent without obtaining it beforehand, is a criminal offence and this not only applies to the builder, but also to anyone instructing the builder.
- When buying a listed building it is important to do your homework, to see if any building work has been carried out previously without consent being secured. This is especially important if you intend to have building work carried out on the property yourself. More often than not, unauthorised work only comes to light, when a Planning Officer visits the property to comment on a proposed extension or alteration. Once unauthorised work has been discovered, the LPA will most likely issue an enforcement notice and you will either have to try and secure consent, or reinstate the property back to its original condition. So keep your eyes peeled for modern timber casement windows, slim line double glazed units, roof lights and new internal partitions.
Listed buildings are wonderful places to live in, which are full of character and originality and through careful consideration, there is no reason why these special buildings cannot be adapted and extended to suit modern day family living, providing the necessary consents are secured first.
Find out more: www.plaicemaking.net