Manor Farmhouse listed building prosecution
A significant and unusual listed building prosecution case has successfully concluded in which Huntingdonshire District Council brought contempt of court proceedings.
This the first case of which the IHBC is aware where this specific course of action has been needed. It is an illuminating example for those uncommon circumstances where injunctions are necessary but have been flouted.
The case concerned Manor Farmhouse, 15 High Street, Spaldwick, a Grade II listed building dating in part to 1546 and located between two Grade II* listed buildings. The owner purchased the property in September 2014, and within two weeks had removed external render and lath-and-plaster ceilings. Although requested to stop work by the council, he declined to do so and a temporary injunction was obtained to prevent any further damage.
The injunction fell away on 15 October 2014 when the owner gave an undertaking in the county court not to carry out any further work to the building without first obtaining listed building consent or the prior approval of the local authority. Despite this undertaking and further council warnings, works continued without consent.
On 11 November the owner appeared at Peterborough County Court and admitted 20 individual breaches of the undertaking previously given to the court in 2014, including the removal of wattle-and-daub panels, the removal of windows, internal walls and internal fixtures, and the insertion of new second-floor accommodation.
The owner was found guilty, given a six-week suspended sentence and ordered to pay £25,000 towards the council’s costs. The owner will also have to meet the costs of appropriate reinstatements and risks further action by the council if this is not done.
A listed building enforcement notice will now be sought to secure the reinstatement of the fabric of the building. It would be open to the council to initiate further proceedings if the notices are not complied with.
Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Appeals against urgent works notices.
- Building Preservation Notice.
- Cautions or formal warnings in relation to potential listed building offences in England and Wales.
- Certificate of immunity.
- Charging for Listed Building Consent pre-application advice.
- Compulsory purchase orders for listed buildings.
- Conservation area.
- Conservation officer.
- IHBC articles.
- Listed building.
- Forced entry to listed buildings.
- Listed Building Heritage Partnership Agreements.
- Local Listed Building Consent Orders.
- Listed Building Consent Order.
- Planning authority duty to provide specialist conservation advice.
- The Institute of Historic Building Conservation.
- Use of direct action in heritage enforcement cases in England.
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