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Listed Building Consent

I had a really interesting chat with our neighbours over our New Year’s Day  lunch about the major renovation work they are doing on their cottage. It was originally an early 19th Century toll house on what would have been the old turnpike road, and is Grade II listed. That means that, although it requires a great deal of work to renovate it and turn it into a comfortable (albeit small) home, everything they do needs Listed Building Consent from the local council.

Fortunately, it seems that the local conservation officer is broadly sympathetic. The council do not want a derelict cottage causing an eyesore and crumbling into irreversible decline, and they realise that they have to allow some changes to make the building viable as a modern home. So they are allowing my neighbours to drag it at least into the 20th Century by adding a proper bathroom and some external lighting. Hopefully even double glazed windows, at least at the back of the property where it’s less visible from the road. But all the bureaucratic hoops add at least three months to everything they do, so the renovation is going to be a slow process.

Fortunately, my own cottage is not listed, so I don’t have those constraints. But before we moved here, Christopher and I lived in one of the big old Victorian mansions in the centre of Great Malvern that had been converted into flats. That was a Grade II listed, and leasehold to boot.

I used to really rather enjoy myself when I got cold called by companies trying to sell me a conservatory. I would say that I’d always wanted to have a conservatory, but didn’t think I’d be able to as there were some issues. At which point the caller would say that they had a range of conservatories and were sure that they could help – what was the issue? So I’d say that the house was Grade II Listed, and in a Conservation Area, so I didn’t think the planning authorities would allow me to have one. That stopped some of the less desperate companies, but I did occasionally get one saying that they had some “heritage” designs which had proved acceptable on occasion, and they would be happy to work with me on getting consent. In that case I said, I’d be very interested indeed – except that we lived on the side of a very steep hill. The flat was only first floor at the front, but was second floor at the back, with stunning views over the Severn Plain. it would be brilliant to have a conservatory to take advantage of the views, but what would they propose? A cantilevered construction perhaps? At that point they invariably hung up on me! How rude!

{ 1 } Comments

  1. SallyB | 7 January 2019 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Just like the companies that used to call us at our old Victorian house, offering cavity wall insulation. I used to let them tell me all sorts and then have to explain that we had solid walls. I did have one girl who said I’d been wasting her time.