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Grade 2 listed house permissions

(48 Posts)
Sleepyk Tue 07-Jul-15 19:53:56

Hi all

we are due to exchange on our house which is full of damp, needs rewiring throughout and have heating put in oh and decorate! We love it though! My DH called the local council to speak to the conservation people and she told him we would need to apply for permission to do anything and it can take 8 weeks to get an answer!! We have to move in by end of Aug tho..was she just talking nonsense? If we just went ahead and did the essentials could they ask us to un do what we have done!

PoorNeglectedBike Tue 07-Jul-15 20:06:41

Yes they could and they could also prosecute you.

Local authorities take a very dim view of unauthorised work. What to you is an essential, basic improvemt could damage the very thing that makes your property historically significant. Modern approaches like putting in a damp proof course can be very damaging to original materials.

You need to get your conservation officer in side. Run through your intentions, take their advice, draw up detailed plans of work and specifications, demonstrate an understanding of your building and follow the proper route to gain consent

An added complication is that conservation departments have been cut to the bone so it may well be difficult to gain access to your conservation officer.

You will need to be patient. Get on the Historic England website, look under the 'advice for owners' section. Look also at the SPAB site. Get a handle on how work needs to be done and how problems should be tackled so you are informed when it comes to making decisions.

RaphaellaTheSpanishWaterDog Tue 07-Jul-15 20:25:19

Is it not possible to move in on completion and do the work as and when listed building consent is given?

We have previously camped out in one room, then gradually moved into other rooms whilst restoring a period property (with young DC) and whilst it's not for everyone, we thoroughly enjoyed the experience and went on to take on other unloved (and unmortgageable!) wrecks old houses.

Definitely agree with bike in that you don't want to risk being prosecuted for unauthorised works!

GL btw :@)

BuildYourOwnSnowman Tue 07-Jul-15 20:33:42

check what you need consent for and then get them round asap and chat with them

our conservation officer tried to get us to keep something that was not original (or very old!) and not part of the listing. we pointed it out and he backtracked quickly.

also tried to stop us doing some things that they had just granted the house 2 doors down - again they backed down once i pointed it out.

I was very nice to them and kept a dialogue going though as it is really not worth getting on the wrong side of the listing!!

Unexpected Tue 07-Jul-15 20:42:12

Yes, they very much could make you undo the works. Do you know anything about Listed buildings? If not, you are probably in for some shocks along the way. Did you not do any research on what exactly buying a Listed building involved?

Sleepyk Tue 07-Jul-15 20:44:03

How do we find out what IS listed on our property and what we need consent for? The lady at the council my husband spoke to was so unhelpful and, he said, sounded like she was reading from a script. We need to get the hot water/damp/re wiring and woodworm sorted before we move it...surely?!

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Tue 07-Jul-15 20:44:21

You can apply for retrospective consent for urgent works but you would need to be very confident in what you were doing.

More realistically though, unless you are planning on doing all the work yourselves it will take you longer than 8 weeks to find a set of good tradesmen used to doing historic buildings and get them to schedule you in - getting consent is only the start of it. The best builders will be busy right now and won't be able to start immediately. And you will have a lot to get your heads round if you're not experienced yourselves. Take it slowly, join SPAB (their helpline is great) and talk to your conservation officer.

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Tue 07-Jul-15 20:45:51

Anything that affects the historic character of the property needs consent, but that can include things you wouldn't expect.

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Tue 07-Jul-15 20:49:51

You should be able to get the woodworm treatment done before you move in but the other stuff depends. What is causing the damp?

Sleepyk Tue 07-Jul-15 20:50:57

My husband IS a builder so that bit is sorted ....

HelloNewman Tue 07-Jul-15 20:56:41

If your house is listed, it includes the entire fabric of the house and everything within its curtilage.

Our house is listed (just a bog standard Grade 2) and we need permission to do any alterations or changes - even to the naff recent additions.

LIZS Tue 07-Jul-15 20:59:06

You need to speak to the conservation officer about exactly what is listed and what you can change. I'd expect with gr 2 that you cannot unilaterally make any alterations inside or out. You may be permitted to install CH but the pipe work mustn't be visible, no new windows and any historic features should be restored/repaired. Everything from style and design to materials would need approval before you start any work. They may even insist on traditional methods and materials which will significantly increase the costs.

girlandboy Tue 07-Jul-15 21:00:57

Agree with everyone else. We were allowed to do certain things, such as putting a chimney liner in (because it wasn't visible) but stuff like rewiring was a little more tricky.
Yes we could rewire, but the resulting replastering work had to be done "like for like" so that meant touching it up with lime plaster. They didn't mind the woodworm treatment which we did before we moved in. The damp is still with us because we can't put in a damp proof course. The house has no foundations and is built of rubble stone so no cavities and no other way of doing it apart from the copper line thing which they said they didn't think would work anyway.
Also we had to get permission to knock down the old out-house. The Royal Society for the Protection of Ancient Monuments had to decide is they wanted to record and photograph the old toilet before demolition hmm
We also couldn't put gas central heating in, so we've had to just go with electric storage heaters.
You need to look into it!!

Unexpected Tue 07-Jul-15 21:01:36

If your husband is a builder, then he must be familiar with the restrictions of Listing - hopefully. He will certainly appreciate the timescales involved for permissions and works?

BuildYourOwnSnowman Tue 07-Jul-15 21:04:48

what period house is it?

we could do what we liked with the 'new' ceilings but the rooms with the original cornicing we had to be very careful with

they were happy for things to be replaced like for like in a lot of cases

my conservation officer was helpful because he could see i was as keen to maintain/restore the house to its former glory

Sleepyk Tue 07-Jul-15 21:08:05


PoorNeglectedBike Tue 07-Jul-15 21:08:44

woodworm "treatment" is throwing good money after bad. The presence of woodworm indicates damp - a dry timber (and therefore a stable and not degrading one) is not a hosiptable environment for any kind of beetle. Google Brian Ridout and read anything you can find that he has written about damp

water is the enemy of historic buildings- the root of all their problems, the anwer is not introducing modern materials in an attempt to seal or repel. you need to identify the cause and start with that. that should be your priority when begining any work. get your roof, gutters, downpipes sorted. look at ground levels around the building, anywhere it is higher on the outside than the inside will cause issues. cut back vegetation that is impeding evaporation. check for cement repairs or infill and get rid of them, replacing with permable lime mortars.

installing heating and rewiring will be the easy bits - start with the damp.

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Tue 07-Jul-15 21:09:52

Do you know why it's listed? What does the listing say? There must be a very specific reason for a house that new to be listed.

Sleepyk Tue 07-Jul-15 21:11:32

...and the damp is caused by just having stone footings

Sleepyk Tue 07-Jul-15 21:13:58

Its in a conservation area - frustratingly next door have the exact same listed building and they have changed everything and even knocked down walls ...all without permission and have being there 20 years!

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Tue 07-Jul-15 21:19:35

Agree with Bike. SPAB has some good factsheets on damp in old buildings and why damp proof courses etc aren't the answer. My surveyor thought he had found loads of damp and tried to get us to get a dpc (which I very much doubt we would have been allowed anyway). We cut down ivy, fixed guttering and rooves, and pay attention to ventilation and avoiding condensation, and a year on you would be hard pressed to find damp anywhere except the cellar.

TheCountessofFitzdotterel Tue 07-Jul-15 21:21:17

Next door might be in trouble when they try to sell though! The buyers' solicitors will ask to see consents for the work done.

PoorNeglectedBike Tue 07-Jul-15 21:24:22

if it is a conservation area then you will also need plannng permission (which you have to pay for) as well as LBC (which is free) for any alterations

there is a saying that if you're not happy with a listed building as it is then do not buy it. you don't want to be in a battle with it, compromising and struggling with it. taking on a project and being happy, means you will need buy in to accepted conservation principles.

the naff modern additions that we judge as being worthless are part of the story of the house, they document so much, social norms of the times, signs of econmic trends, changes in patterns of use, how we live and work and so on.

a few shory decades ago we were ripping out any sign of Victoriana, now they command a premium. there's no accounting for fashion and taste is so subjective

russellgrantschin Tue 07-Jul-15 21:24:35

Are you in the cotswolds?

girlandboy Tue 07-Jul-15 21:25:46

Agree with TheCountess, our damp improved massively once the guttering and drains were sorted out. And also once we moved in and sorted the heating and ventilation, it got a lot better. There are still some odd areas where it persists, but we live with that!

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