Wednesday, February 19

Nicola Thomas of ARCH angels on common misconceptions about listed properties

- February 20, 2012

What a busy few weeks we’ve had! As Richard mentioned in our last column, we’ve been at the Listed Property Show in London. It was a great weekend, and a real highlight was a couple coming up to tell us how much they enjoyed our last column.

We had lots of great conversations over a very exciting weekend. One thing that struck us and something that we’ve noticed in the past is that there is a lot of confusion about listed properties; what you are and aren’t allowed to do. Not to mention the authorities, which some see as rather dark forces indeed. Especially if you believe the dramatised versions which you may see on “reality” TV programmes.

What’s inside counts too!
The most common misconception is that listed status only covers the front façade and that you can do what you like as long as it isn’t visible from the street. This isn’t the case! Common minor works requiring listed building consent might include the replacement of windows or doors and knocking down internal walls as well as the larger works such as extensions.

New additions
Another big misunderstanding is that listed status only applies to original walls and features. This is not true. We’ve had a number of clients wanting to take down interior walls dating from the 1960s thinking they were doing the property a favour in returning it back to its original layout without realising these additions are also protected.

In conservation areas you may need permission from the Council before making alterations such as inserting windows, installing satellite dishes, adding conservatories or other extensions. The guidelines are a little less restrictive than for a listed property.

Custodian of a treasure
Despite the bad press which the authorities sometimes get, they are there to help you and protect your property. There is a wealth of information available through your local Council for instance and also The English Heritage website You should always check before commencing any work, as failure to comply could be very costly or even result in criminal proceedings.
Above all, it’s important to remember that you never really own a listed property, rather you are the custodian of a treasure.

Richard Zinzan and Nicola Thomas are founders of ARCH?angels Architects, a local, Brighton-based approachable practice specialising in environmentally conscious and cost effective architecture. We work closely with you to maximise your space and provide beautiful buildings.

t 01273 267184

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