Heritage planning for historic property owners – repairs

What permissions are needed?

I’m sometimes asked to provide a brief rather than full assessment as a Design and Access Appendix. On one occasion, my assessment was to be accompanied an application for minor alterations to a house at Quintin Avenue, Wimbledon Chase, London. The application had been submitted and additional information was requested. A quick turn-around ensured we had a happy client.

Both planning permission and listed building consent are typically required for partial demolition, conservatories, extensions, change of use, and separate new builds. Planning permission and listed building consent are also typically required when changing windows, new rooflights or dormers and doors when living within a conservation area. Listed building consent is typically required for internal floor plan alterations and upgrading services.

The regulations for all listed buildings apply to the entire property, internal and external, and to curtilage-listed buildings. In my experience, there’s one exception – features, buildings or extensions can be specifically excluded in the List Entry. It might also be advisable to apply for an enhanced listing, which is essentially an update with more details about inclusions and exclusions. Do get in touch if you are seeking advice.

What if it’s just a repair?

Repairs and works requiring minor changes may not require consent. Urgent repairs to combat the worst effects of water ingress, for example, will need post-repair ‘regularisation’ through the planning system to avoid potential enforcement action and difficulties when selling the property.

In my experience, conservation officers provide support though evidence is sought. A simple before and after photo, along with an explanation will suffice. This occurred at Whitelands, Gregories Road, Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, when a felt covered porch roof needed to be replaced. Changes to the drainage system meant that the original downpipe design was no longer functional and the homeowners asked permission to remove it.

Do get in touch if you need advice. Repairs need to be carried out in materials compatible with historic building fabric. Like-for-like materials should be used where exact matches are not available, asbestos being an exception.

This even applies to something as simple as a broken window. While just replacing the window might seem the obvious choice, this may still require permission because it can change the external appearance of the building. Advice is available; conservation officers, the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings (SPAB), Historic Wales, Historic Scotland, and Historic England can advise.

Please be aware that proceeding with work without the required consent and permissions is a criminal offence, so consult with the planning authority to check with the conservation officer.


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