Last edited 16 Jan 2021

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Institute of Historic Building Conservation Institute / association Website

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.

This article originally appeared in IHBC's Context 148, March 2017. It was written by Bob Kindred, IHBC research consultant, who maintains the National Database of Listed Building Prosecutions.

--Institute of Historic Building Conservation

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