Listed Buildings And Unauthorised Alterations
Forde George Chartered Building Surveyors based in Exeter, Devon undertake a significant number of pre-acquisition building surveys of Listed Buildings and are able to provide in depth dialogue on buildings design, chronology, construction, condition, repair and likely future management. Of particular interest to a purchase is the impact of the building’s ‘Listed’ status and whether any unauthorized alterations have previously been carried out.
The impact of a building’s ‘Listed’ status is often misinterpreted by owners. There is the prevalent misconception that the degree of protection varies between Grades II, II* and Grade I and, for example, that such restrictions only apply to features contained within the description, such as entrance porticos, fireplaces, stairs, etc.
Currently, approximately 2% of the building stock in England and Wales is Listed, of which approximately 92% is Grade II, 5% Grade II* and 2% Grade I. However, the variation in Listed building status merely makes reference to whether the building is of historical importance locally (such as a street scene), or whether there is a greater degree of importance due to its individuality or historical connection, the most important of which of course being designated a Grade I. The degree of protection theoretically is consistent throughout all Grades with alterations to any external and internal elements, where removal of historic fabric is proposed, requiring Listed Building Consent. Where Grade II* and Grade I are also concerned, proposals are likely to be referred to Historic England (formerly English Heritage). It may also be that issues such as the use of traditional materials and techniques may receive more scrutiny in Grade II* and Grade I buildings. Forde George are able to offer specialist advice on any potential alterations which have been carried out without consent and advise on proposals and liaise with the relevant Authorities.
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