Greengates Builders Merchants

Ever Fancied Buying A Listed Building?

Owners of listed buildings will tell you all sorts of frightening tales about the restrictions placed on them by heritage officers but the simple fact is that if you cannot agree them, you should not buy such a home.

To damage or alter a listed building without consent is illegal and could land you with a criminal record, and a large bill to put things right.

Contrary to what some people imagine, Grade I and II buildings are not all very costly to buy but can be expensive to restore. Experts say that you can add at least 30 per cent to the usual bill as you must follow strict guidelines and use an architect, surveyors, specialist contractors and suitable historical materials.

If you are sold on the idea of becoming the proud owner of a piece of archi­tec­tural heritage, be aware from the start that you will be regarded as a custodian rather than an owner. You may find it hard to accept that English Heritage might also appear to wish to write your cheques for you.

Rather surpri­singly, most applications for work are approved; English Heritage says up to 90 per cent of listed building consent applications are approved.

Obviously most buyers will expect the listing to add value, which is often the case.

Listed properties are often character-filled, every room telling a story. Original period features are highly valued and can increase the asking price, especially when refurbished or restored.

The reason for listing can be found by looking at The National Heritage list (english-heritage.­org.­uk/­list).

Here you can find a description of features of interest which may run from a few paragraphs to large files. If you are thinking of buying a listed property take this on board.

"It is also a good idea to ask building control and the conservation officer whether they have a list of approved contractors and builders before you start work."

NOT ALL planning decisions are obvious. Incre­asingly, where new extensions are applied for, conservation officers favour architecture that is completely distinct from the heritage elements.

Finally, the rules on tax relief have changed so that previously exempt alterations and repairs to a listed building are now subject to VAT.


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