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Velux windows and grade II listing

(9 Posts)
pollydianasmummy Tue 06-Oct-09 21:17:52

We are buying a grade II listed barn. I'm interested in turning the loft area into a bedroom. Does the listing mean that we would no way under any circumstances be able to put in velux windows?

Has anyone applied for planning permission to put velux windows in and got it?

ditto the same thing with a conservatory on the side.

Any advice on grade II listing would be appreciated


theyoungvisiter Tue 06-Oct-09 21:28:01

you can sometimes get something called a conservation velux, I have seen grade 2 places that have them. Generally they are small and not very conspicuous. But it will totally depend on the siting, the visibility etc.

Think a conservatory would be more doubtful - the only way to be sure would be to apply for planning permission, but you could ring the council and ask for a chat, they can often give you an idea of whether a project is a total non-starter.

theyoungvisiter Tue 06-Oct-09 21:29:18

I don't have any specialist knowledge btw, this is just all gathered from looking at grade 2 buildings with a view to purchase.

pollydianasmummy Tue 06-Oct-09 21:41:45

thanks - that has been helpful already! I'm not even sure where to start - you're right I should phone the council.

ABetaDad Tue 06-Oct-09 21:45:49

We have large Velux windows in the roof of our rented house. It is Grade II Listed but they are hidden in the valley of the roof.

Planning was applied for and granted in 2004.
I think that the general advice is to get your local coucil Conservation Officer to come round and ask him/her informally before applying for planning permission.

theyoungvisiter Tue 06-Oct-09 21:54:10

oh, you probably know this, but you also have to get planning permission for any interior alterations with grade 2. Unlike conservation, which is just the exterior of the house, with grade 2 structural alterations to the inside are restricted too.

So if you do speak to the council it's worth working out what you would need to do to the inside of the house as well - in terms of installing stairs/doors for the loft, adding bathrooms, or knocking through walls for the conservatory.

Good luck! Does your purchase depend on the ability to do this, or are you interested regardless?

GrendelsMum Tue 06-Oct-09 22:21:21

The Young Visiter is spot on.

You need to phone the conservation officer, but he/she may not be too chatty if you haven't actually bought the house yet - they get a lot of very vague phonecalls along the lines of 'if I bought this house, what could I do'. My sister (a CO) would say to you straight away that you should never buy a listed house unless you're happy to live with it as is.

You would need to put in conservation veluxes if anything, but you may or may not get permission for them. You might be able to put them in to the back but not the front, for example, as the front is seen as an important roofscape. Generally, I'm told that if a trusted architect is the one putting the suggestions to the COs, they are more likely to be positive.

Like Young Visiter, I'd be really doubtful about a conservatory. The thinking goes as follows: Do barns have conservatories sticking off them? No they do not. They would look bloody silly with a conservatory sticking off the edge. It would detract from the character of the property. However, do barns have oak framed cart lodges coming off them? Yes, sometimes they do. So perhaps you could have a conservatory that was made to look more like a farm building and less like something that had fallen off a Regency villa. Again, an architect with experience in working with listed buildings is what you need.

You need to read Section 39 of the Planning Act 1990 to find the guidelines for planners in terms of what goes and what doesn't - this will help.

If you're serious about buying the house, go on the SPAB homeowners course to get a better understanding of what the listing means - it pays for itself very quickly!

GrendelsMum Tue 06-Oct-09 22:27:21

p.s. the other thing about listing is that no-one can ever say 'no way under any circumstances'. If you were to put together a sufficiently good case for having anything, you can have it - the important thing is to know what a good case is, and that's where Section 39 and the SPAB come in. e.g. CO came in saying 'there's no way you can take down that ceiling', left saying 'please, take down that inauthentic 1980s ceiling and restore the room to its former glory'.

Also, once the CO trusts you, they are (I think) much happier to let you go ahead with stuff that technically might need LBC without making you ask for it. (Boo - no 15% off for me on current round of building works sad) So the more in tune you sound with their needs and concerns, the better it is for you. If they are happy with you, you can literally phone up, tell them what you want to do, and they'll say 'fine, call it a repair'.

Merrylegs Tue 06-Oct-09 22:29:52

We live in a grade 2 listed barn. It has a loft conversion with velux windows front and back, which was done during the original conversion about 15 years ago. However the veluxes are small, not huge dormer windows.

Also, my neighbour has a beautiful grade 2 listed house with a (in my opinion) quite unbeautiful conservatory attached, which also got planning permission. I would say nothing is impossible.

There is one caveat to this though. Grade II listed barns + lofts + conversions could possibly =bats. If you find these during the conversion, you are pretty buggered, basically.

As for insides of barns, planners are quite keen to keep that open feel, so unless you were planning to divide up loads of rooms, you should be OK.

(BTW, I absolutely love my barn. Tis lush, and a joy to live in!)

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