Listed building consent in Wiltshire
Do you own a listed building in Wiltshire, or are you considering buying one? If so, make sure you have the correct permissions in place before making any home improvements.
Helen Harris, head of the residential property department at Wiltshire based solicitors Forrester Sylvester Mackett explains – “Owning your very own piece of architectural history in Wiltshire may be an appealing prospect, but it can make maintenance and home improvements complicated. Making changes to a Grade 1 or Grade 2 listed building without the correct permissions is in fact a criminal offence, with criminal penalties.”
How does it differ from planning permission?
Unlike planning permission, most listed buildings require prior consent to make internal changes as well as external. The listing can also extend to outbuildings, attached structures and objects. This could include the boundary walls or even an integrated cast iron range. Each property is different and needs to be assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Helen continues, “It is important to note that protection happens at the point of listing. This means that even replacing the hideous 1960’s doors of your beautiful 1820’s cottage could be in breach of the listing, if prior consent was not obtained.”
What are the risks?
But how likely are you to be found out? Even though the chances of facing prosecution may be small, you can face serious issues when you come to sell the property. Certain home insurance products do exist to cover a listed property with illegal works, but they are limited in what they cover and have very specific terms. It also may be possible to get retrospective consent in some cases, but this is by no means guaranteed. Your buyer’s solicitor is likely to advise against taking on a listed house with illegal works.
Should you buy a listed building?
Think carefully before taking on a listed building. Make sure you point out to your solicitor any changes to the property, so they can investigate and ensure correct steps were taken. If you think you may need to make changes to the property in the future, be aware that many conservation officers will want specific materials and methods used on a listed property, which can increase costs and make the works significantly more complicated.
If you would like any advice on buying or selling your property, please contact Helen Harris in the residential property department today on 01225 755621.