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Owners Warned Over Listed Building Work or Face Jail Threat

Andrew DaviesOwners of listed buildings in the Midlands are being warned they risk unlimited fines or even a 12-month prison sentence if they carry out work without the right consent.

Respected property lawyer Andrew Davies has issued the warning - saying owners who failed to seek building consent, or who get turned down but go ahead anyway, were taking “a huge risk”.

The alert comes following a court case in which the owner of a centuries-old listed building received a suspended prison sentence and was made to pay £25,000 costs for doing work on a timber framed farmhouse.

Mr Davies, partner and head of the Residential Property at regional law firm mfg Solicitors, said listed buildings were under far greater protection than normal properties because of their historical relevance or architectural importance.

He said: “The authorities take this issue very seriously. Anyone who fails to get permission, or worse, goes ahead after being turned down, is taking a huge risk.

“Working on a listed building without consent is a criminal offence which carries up to 12 months in prison or an unlimited fine.”

Mr Davies said there can be many reasons why a building is listed, either for something on the inside or outside the property.

“Many people misunderstand the rules around planning permission and the more detailed, intricate requirements for listed buildings.

“Local authorities will require owners to get their approval not just on the work, but even on the materials the owner is planning to use. It’s a strict process as this latest case shows.” he added.

“Modern UPVC windows, for example, will not be acceptable and people may also have to show how they will use historic techniques, such as horse hair in plaster work, in order to get the go-ahead.”

The court case referred to involved Mr Richard Johnson, who worked on the Manor Farmhouse in Spaldwick, which dates back to 1546. Mr Johnson received a six-week suspended prison sentence at Peterborough County Court.

Please click here for more information on the case. For more information, readers can speak to Mr Davies and his team on 0845 5555 321 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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