Bungling owner fined after trying to turn listed building into flats
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Local Government and also in Housing
Bungling owners fined after trying to turn listed building into flatsImage: Housing via Shutterstock
The owner of a Grade II listed property in Stockton has been fined over £5,000 after attempting to covert the building into flats without consent.
Company Dennis Harley Developments and site manager James Harley appeared at Teesside Magistrates’ Court this week charged with one offence each under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.
Last December, a planning officer noticed that works were being undertaken at the 170-year-old property on Norton Road in Stockton.
The site was inspected and officers found that works were being carried out to convert the building into flats.
Site manager Harley was advised that as the property is Grade II listed, all building works should cease because consent was needed. Letters were also sent to the owner.
However, when officers visited the property again they discovered that the works were continuing.
Stockton Council was granted a County Court injunction ordering the works to stop.
In mitigation the solicitor representing both Mr Harley and the company said that the majority of the damage had been done prior to the firm buying the building at auction.
The works carried out were necessary to ensure that the property wasn’t damaged further as it had been broken in to on a couple of occasions and water had leaked in.
The court also heard that the company wanted to carry out the works to bring the building back into use, providing employment and accommodation for local people.
But the firm and James Harley pleaded guilty to executing works for alteration of a listed building which would affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest, when the works didn’t have listed building consent.
Dennis Harley Developments was fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £500 towards costs and a victim surcharge of £120.
James Harley was also fined £2,000 and ordered to pay £500 towards costs and a victim surcharge of £120.
Councillor Mike Smith said: “The laws regarding listed building consent are there for a reason, to protect the historical significance of relevant properties, and the Council has a duty to ensure the law is complied with. The listing description covers the entire building and curtilage.
"It is important that buildings like this are protected for future generations. I hope this case will act as a warning that any unauthorised changes to listed buildings are not tolerated.”