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  #51  
Old 05-24-2020, 08:24 AM
MrAtoz is online now
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Originally Posted by GMANCANADA View Post

Try Youtube, I've watched lots of full episodes there.
I've been watching it on a network called "Dabl" (sounds like "dabble," get it?), which is one of those digital subchannels. It shows mostly old cooking and home improvement shows. May or may not be available from your television provider.
  #52  
Old 05-24-2020, 09:33 PM
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Checked it out. Some good shows there. Lots of Ceasar Milan and old Canadian shows like Cityline!

I've been watching "Reel Truth History Documentaries" channel on Youtube:
https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCb7...cNnA/playlists

They're generally British focused: history, antiques, WW2 documentaries etc. I think it fed it to me since I watched a couple episodes of Time Team. The Youtube algorithm worked!
  #53  
Old 05-25-2020, 12:54 AM
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It was more the complete "Catch-22" contradiction between the council's planner and the council itself that surprised me.
It happens from time to time, no doubt, but that's decision-making by elected representatives for you. The full-time professional bureaucrats don't decide everything - that's why they can't absolutely guarantee that this or that design feature will get it through.

I'm not a planning lawyer, but in my citizen's understanding, the council has some legal obligation to abide by planning policies for an area that have been previously established by a defined process of consultation and formal approval. There might be room for an appeal to central government or to the courts, depending on how much discretion that left over decisions affecting particular plots of land or particular buildings. Or (I don't know for sure about this) there might be a way to get the planning committee to re-consider or have it referred to the full council, depending on exactly what the objections to the proposal were.

Yes, that all adds delay and expense, but that's the risk you take in that situation.
  #54  
Old 05-25-2020, 08:56 AM
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You ask the relevant authorities, before committing yourself, what their general policies are, and run past the officers some outline ideas of what you have in mind. But they can't dictate to the elected councillors whether to approve final plans or not, only to recommend. If, as reported above, the council ignores the recommendation and, in effect, goes back on its declared policy, there might be a case for further appeal processes, but that adds delay and expense. That's part of the risk you take when looking to buy a listed building, and needs to be reflected in the price you're willing to offer.
I am confused- not because I don't see why the bureaucrats can't dictate whether the councillors approve the plans but because I don't see why there must be two separate groups involved. My city has historic districts , landmarked buildings and an appointed landmarks preservation commission - and the situation described ,where the planner could not approve an historically accurate extension and the council would not approve a historically inaccurate extension simply couldn't happen. Not because the commission is appointed rather than elected but because all permits and approvals for renovations or restorations regarding appearance go through the LPC and no other group. Other agencies might approve other aspects - for example, the LPC doesn't decide whether the use of a building can be changed or whether the plans meet the building code but the zoning board and department of buildings don't care one whit about the appearance of the building.

Last edited by doreen; 05-25-2020 at 08:57 AM.
  #55  
Old 05-25-2020, 11:21 AM
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I am confused- not because I don't see why the bureaucrats can't dictate whether the councillors approve the plans but because I don't see why there must be two separate groups involved.
Because the organisation was not originally designed to do this kind of work. Like the government, the local council tries to separate the permanent administration from the elected supervision. Elected councillors may sit on committees that decide policy and as individuals, they can take up the concerns of their constituents.

The planning department, for the most part, do a good job in curbing the wilder excesses of developers and individuals, but ultimately it is for the elected (unpaid* and therefore mostly retired) members to have the final say on major projects - those members probably have little or no expertise beyond watching house renovation programmes on TV and a general dislike of anything modern. Their decisions are frequently overturned by government.

*they do get generous allowances, but no actual salary for what is supposedly a part-time job. The leader of an average-sized council with a £100m budget may be paid less than £30k pa.
  #56  
Old 05-25-2020, 09:03 PM
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@doreen has well summarized the North American confusion over the Brit's system.

To elaborate, here (in Canada at least), the elected council's responsibility begins and ends with inputting and regularly updating the "master plan" for the city or town. That hopefully detailed plan sets out every possible rule that a builder / homeowner must follow and can vary by neighbourhood or street. In cases where there are historically significant zones or even single buildings there are other rules like aesthetics too. Theoretically lots of work goes into the council plan: including current and future capacities of roads, transit, school, sewage etc

The homeowner (builder) submits their detailed plan to the planning dept. and as long as they're within the council's rules i.e. they want no variances, the bureaucrats approve and then inspect to ensure compliance. At no point do the elected officials ever get involved and inject their own personal tastes into individual projects.

That's why this system is so fascinatingly strange to us (or me at least).
  #57  
Old 05-26-2020, 05:03 AM
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I find it kind of amusing that the spleen being vented at bureaucratic meddling is coming from the land where HOAs famously delight in measuring the length of grass in people's front yards, banning the drying of laundry outside, checking the color tone on siding etc etc etc.
My sister lives in a swanky neighbourhood in the Lone Star State, Home of the Goddamn Free and she gets pissy letters lecturing her about about things like how long she is permitted to have her trashcans by the kerb on Trash Day, how she is not allowed to leave the Haloween decorations up longer than 3 days, and god knows what else. And she kowtows to them just as much as anyone in England grovels before the council.

One point often missed about listed buildings, conservation areas and the like is that they very rarely Just Happen. You buy a listed building, you know perfectly well what you are getting yourself into, which is 5x more paperwork than the already significant amount that comes with a normal properly. Don't want to jump through those hoops, go buy a modern biscuit box house or apartment. People generally buy these old buildings because they are seen as desirable, often for exactly the reasons they are listed.

Our property in London is in an area that that was designated a conservation area soon after we bought it (after all sorts of public consultations and carryings-on). Nearly every property owner rejoiced since it would pretty much guarantee a rise in property values. The vast majority of the regulations boil down to "no you can't go for the cheapest and ugliest possible method of doing any building work, you have to go for something that looks nice and suits the character of the area". The middle-class types flock to such areas, pay a big premium for properties there, and then promptly start bitching when the council turns down their cunning plan to double the size by tearing off the pitched roof and replacing it with a two-storey flat-roof mini-condo.

I haven't watched any of those programmes in years, but the hidden subtext was often "Oh, I bought this tumbledown old property for a fraction of the usual price because it comes with a whole heap of extra restrictions due to its legal status. How DARE the council subject ME to the same painfully arbitrary flim-flam that put off all the professional property developers that would normally have outbid me significantly for such a desirable bit of real estate???"

Bear in mind that in the UK you buy the land has a bit of value, the building has a bit of value, the right to have a building on the land has HUGE value and the right to build new or extend existing property on the land has ENORMOUS value. I think we paid a quarter of a million quid for an apartment where the free hold on the land was worth like twenty grand, and the insured replacement value of the building was something stupid like seventy thousand. Permission to build an extension out onto the garden would probably have doubled the value of the property even without actually building anything.
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  #58  
Old 05-26-2020, 05:54 AM
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One point often missed about listed buildings, conservation areas and the like is that they very rarely Just Happen. You buy a listed building, you know perfectly well what you are getting yourself into, which is 5x more paperwork than the already significant amount that comes with a normal properly. Don't want to jump through those hoops, go buy a modern biscuit box house or apartment. People generally buy these old buildings because they are seen as desirable, often for exactly the reasons they are listed.
I understand all of that , it happens in my city as well with landmarked buildings or historic districts. What I find baffling is one thing and one thing only - the fact that there can be a catch 22 where the planner can't/won't approve an historically accurate extension and the council can't/won't approve a historically inaccurate extension so that in effect, no extension can be built ( because there is no extension which both entities will approve) but there is no rule actually prohibiting extensions. Well two things actually - I also don't understand why this seems to be sort of waved away as being perfectly normal , to have to get approval from two different groups with apparently different goals and standards.

It's got nothing really to do with bureaucratic meddling- I understand bureaucratic meddling. We've got plenty of it here. This is more like your sister's HOA and the actual government had regulations that were opposite each other so that you could never be in compliance with both, unless you simply didn't conduct the regulated activity. I've been trying to thing of an example, and they all strike me as absurd because they couldn't happen. For example, the municipal/county government mandates parallel parking on public streets. If the streets in the development are public streets, that's the end of the story - the government regulates parking. If the streets are private streets, the development is free to mandate angle parking or perpendicular parking and government regulations don't apply. There's never a situation where the government requires parallel and the HOA requires angle parking and so it is impossible for me to park without violating one of the rules.




* And what exactly is the council if not part of the government on some level/ Serious question - I don't understand this distinction.
  #59  
Old 05-26-2020, 06:44 AM
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* And what exactly is the council if not part of the government on some level/ Serious question - I don't understand this distinction.
Many people in the UK would also have difficulty understanding the distinction. There are many different forms of Council, from Parish Councils which have no power and very little influence to the big Metropolitan districts, complete with a Mayor and a multi-million Pound budget. The money comes mostly from Central Government but also from "Council Tax" which is based on some notional rentable value. This is how the Council is held to account by the electors - Theoretically, at least, they can opt for tight budgeting and low expenditure on social services, or more services but higher taxes.

They are all controlled by people elected by their constituents, but even the big cities are seriously constrained in how they can raise and spend money. For example, the government funds education to the tune of £116 billion, but the Council has to decide how best to allocate the cash. Councils get 90% of their income from Central Government. Provision of children and adultís social care services accounts for more than half of most budgets.

There is a whole mish-mash of statutory and other services that a Council has to provide. They repair local roads and empty the bins, as well as Police, Fire and Rescue (but not ambulance). They maintain parks (and zoos in some cases) and subsidise theatres and other local amenities.
  #60  
Old 05-26-2020, 06:52 AM
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Many people in the UK would also have difficulty understanding the distinction. There are many different forms of Council, from Parish Councils which have no power and very little influence to the big Metropolitan districts, complete with a Mayor and a multi-million Pound budget. The money comes mostly from Central Government but also from "Council Tax" which is based on some notional rentable value. This is how the Council is held to account by the electors - Theoretically, at least, they can opt for tight budgeting and low expenditure on social services, or more services but higher taxes.
Please forgive me if I sound stupid, but I just want to make sure I understand - it seems to me that you are using (big G ) "Government" to refer to the national government and "council" to refer to what I would call a lower level of government. My city has an elected City Council and a separately elected mayor- but the council/mayor combination is still government ( local or municipal)
  #61  
Old 05-26-2020, 07:02 AM
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the planner can't/won't approve an historically accurate extension and the council can't/won't approve a historically inaccurate extension so that in effect, no extension can be built
Hah, it's even more ridiculous than you think! The planner works for the council as far as I know. So it's two different representatives of the same local government organisation squabbling with each other over what is permitted, each with the full backing of the law. This is seen as perfectly normal and acceptable because:
  1. It's property/architecture, where famously the number of opinions on whether something is beautiful/horrific is the number of people involved multiplied by an irrational number
  2. It's England, where incoherence, contradiction and inefficiency are prized as part of the cultural heritage
More seriously, whether it is local/municipal government, the HOA, environmental regulators or whatever, in every developed country there are always groups with the ability to tell homeowners what they can or can't do with their property. And in almost every country the locals will moan and grumble about the unfairness of it all while also scratching their heads over how on earth those crazy foreigners can put up with the far greater lunacy of their foreign systems.

As a case in point, some splenetic englander will now almost certainly make themselves heard to the effect that while the english system has shortcomings it is nothing on the Kafkaesque nightmare that is the French/Italian/Spanish/Belgian or whatever system.

The other thing that is worth bearing in mind is that catch-22s happen all the time when a sufficiently dense amount of rules have accumulated bit by bit, its not really all that uncommon. Just most people don't venture into the crustier bureaucratic corners very often.
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  #62  
Old 05-26-2020, 07:05 AM
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That's why this system is so fascinatingly strange to us (or me at least).
There's plenty of frustration with regards to heritage status buildings in Toronto, for example.

Why are beloved Toronto buildings torn down ó even when people fight to save them?

Last edited by hogarth; 05-26-2020 at 07:07 AM.
  #63  
Old 05-26-2020, 07:27 AM
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At no point do the elected officials ever get involved and inject their own personal tastes into individual projects.
It may or may not be a significant difference in terminology, but we make a distinction between [professional] officials and [elected] representatives, so it isn't so surprising if the latter don't accept the officials' recommendation. However, if that rejection is a clear breach of established policy or based on anything but planning considerations (not always easy to prove, I grant), then they may be liable to legal action.

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What I find baffling is one thing and one thing only - the fact that there can be a catch 22 where the planner can't/won't approve an historically accurate extension and the council can't/won't approve a historically inaccurate extension
The planners don't "approve" - they advise applicants on what policy, best practice and so on would apply, and they make recommendations to the [elected] councillors. The legal power and responsibility is with the council as a whole, i.e., the councillors.
  #64  
Old 05-26-2020, 07:54 AM
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Please forgive me if I sound stupid, but I just want to make sure I understand - it seems to me that you are using (big G ) "Government" to refer to the national government and "council" to refer to what I would call a lower level of government. My city has an elected City Council and a separately elected mayor- but the council/mayor combination is still government ( local or municipal)
Diving in to clear this up - you're right, in effect. The council is still 'government' at a local level. But we tend to separate out 'Government' and 'Council' to help us understand who's who. So when a Brit talks about The Government, they're talking about the PM and Cabinet of Ministers from the majority party (or in rare circumstances, coalition of parties) in the House of Commons who govern at a national level. Whereas 'The Council' is the local government.

We do talk about 'local government', which generally means, local council. But we wouldn't just call that 'the government'. That's Boris and clan (or Nicola Sturgeon and clan in Scotland).
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Old 05-26-2020, 10:42 AM
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I remember a local town council in Canada having a big long debate about whether a person could have a circular driveway (2 curb entrances), and again whether a commercial building could have scrolling lights (remember the old movie theatre blinking lights?) The reason council could debate this stuff was because there were bylaws which did not permit it, and the owners were asking for a specific variance or exemption from the bylaw.

To my mind, that's the issue. If you want to do something to your building, you apply to the planning department. They issue a permit. If they tell you "it's contrary to the current bylaws in this regard" you can ask your friend on city council to initiate a bylaw variance procedure, a motion which must be approved by council. Once that exemption exists, you go back to Planning and ask for a permit for plans that now meet the new bylaw requirements.
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Old 05-26-2020, 05:55 PM
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Please forgive me if I sound stupid, but I just want to make sure I understand - it seems to me that you are using (big G ) "Government" to refer to the national government and "council" to refer to what I would call a lower level of government. My city has an elected City Council and a separately elected mayor- but the council/mayor combination is still government ( local or municipal)
Councils are frequently referred to as "Local Government".
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Old 05-27-2020, 10:00 AM
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Only 25% of United States housing falls under a Home Owners Association (the ones who make the rules about trash, lawn, holiday decorations). I for one would rather be homeless than live under such a bullshit system.
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  #68  
Old 05-27-2020, 11:11 AM
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Only 25% of United States housing falls under a Home Owners Association (the ones who make the rules about trash, lawn, holiday decorations). I for one would rather be homeless than live under such a bullshit system.
Does that sound like a lot? That sounds like a lot to me.

I live in a conservation area. It basically means I can't get a multi-story extension on the front of my house. Ain't no one telling me how often I should trim my front garden or how long I can keep my Christmas decks up.
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Old 05-27-2020, 09:34 PM
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I don't see anyone disagreeing with the Brit concept of "listed" and the restrictions it entail, I'm certainly not, I think its great. It's more the arbitrariness of how the rules are applied and the "Kafkaesque" Catch-22 nature in some cases. (Love that term Slaphead, thanks!)

With listed/conservation properties vs. a homeowners association, in each case you know that there are restrictions are in place when you buy BUT in a homeowners assoc. they're clearly spelled out, don't vary from home to home and not subject to capriciousness of administrators.

You don't have someone telling you that you can only put up red and green Christmas lights or you'll be fined and someone else telling you they don't personally like red and green lights and you must put up blue or you'll be fined.

A cousin lives in a private gated homeowners association development in Arizona and they love it. It's a case where you know the rules going in and if you don't like it then you simply don't buy there. The rules are in black and white and consistently applied which they love.

@Bwanabob
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I for one would rather be homeless than live under such a bullshit system.
I said the exact same thing, right up until I had shitty neighbours. The house across the street from us was sold and became a rental and went from a nice elderly couple with an immaculate property to zero yard maintenance, garbage cans left out blocking traffic, loud parties etc. (Yes, we contacted the city to complain but dealing with "homeowner squabbles" is Z on their priority list. When they finally investigate, there is a very long process of warnings that can last years, so nothing happens.) That one property brought down the value of every property on the street.

After that one experience I could 100% see the appeal of a regulated home owners association.
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Old 05-28-2020, 06:13 AM
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I don't see anyone disagreeing with the Brit concept of "listed" and the restrictions it entail, I'm certainly not, I think its great. It's more the arbitrariness of how the rules are applied and the "Kafkaesque" Catch-22 nature in some cases. (Love that term Slaphead, thanks!)

With listed/conservation properties vs. a homeowners association, in each case you know that there are restrictions are in place when you buy BUT in a homeowners assoc. they're clearly spelled out, don't vary from home to home and not subject to capriciousness of administrators.
I can see where you're coming from, but one thing I'd say is that there isn't clear consensus of what 'good conservation' really means, when you're dealing with individual properties. And those ideas change as well - what our parents might have regarded as good conservation might not be what we think.

Hence the debate. Each property has its own history and impact from the local environment. Plus, what do you preserve and what do you change? I used to work for a couple whose home was a 14th century farmhouse, with various outbuildings. They managed to get permission to reclad and renovate the barn using traditional local techniques. However they hit a stumbling block when they came to the grain store. At some point in the past 100-150 years, someone had reclad this 500 year old building in corrugated iron. The owners wanted to strip that off and clad it with black wood (which would have been traditional). The issue was a debate amongst the planners and the council, who couldn't agree whether the corrugated iron should go, or whether it represented the historic life of the building and should be preserved. The issue is one of not disguising how a building has changed over a few hundred years. They don't want to 'disney-fy' our history. And so a debate ensues.

It's not as simple as keeping the grass cut once a week.

Last edited by SanVito; 05-28-2020 at 06:14 AM.
  #71  
Old 05-28-2020, 08:44 AM
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I can see where you're coming from, but one thing I'd say is that there isn't clear consensus of what 'good conservation' really means, when you're dealing with individual properties. And those ideas change as well - what our parents might have regarded as good conservation might not be what we think.
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The issue was a debate amongst the planners and the council, who couldn't agree whether the corrugated iron should go, or whether it represented the historic life of the building and should be preserved. The issue is one of not disguising how a building has changed over a few hundred years. They don't want to 'disney-fy' our history. And so a debate ensues.

It's not as simple as keeping the grass cut once a week.

Speaking for myself- this is the part I have difficulty understanding. Not that there wouldn't be disagreement and not that the standards couldn't change over time - but that a public debate would have been between the planners ( who apparently work for the council ) and the council regarding an individual building, rather than between individual councillors at the point where the council was enacting/changing the rules, regulations, policies and so forth.

I mean , I could see if the rules/regulations/policies required that the corrugated iron remain, and that was the planners recommendation and the owners appealed to the council for a variance to allow the traditional black wood - but from my understanding of the discussion I've seen here, that isn't the case. The planner could recommend wood, the owners could want wood and a councilor could start a debate based on his or her own personal taste and preference to keep the iron to show the history of the building.


Here's a quote from my city's Landmark Preservation Commission website :
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If the proposed work meets the Commission's rules for a staff-level permit, the application can be approved by your staff preservationist and a permit can be issued. If your staff preservationist finds that the work does not meet the rules, he or she may suggest alternatives that can be approved under a staff-level permit. Otherwise, you may present your proposal to the Commission at a public hearing and make your case for appropriateness. Your staff preservationist will guide you through the public hearing process.
If the preservationist can't approve the permit, the only suggestions made are alternatives that would allow a staff level permit. They may or may not make recommendations regarding proposals that go to a public hearing - but they wouldn't make any such recommendations public and even if the recommendation somehow got out, they wouldn't speculate whether the commission would agree with their recommendation or not*. So there wouldn't be any owners or TV viewers mystified by the staff being unable to recommend A but the council being unwilling to approve anything other than A, as they would never know the staff was unable to recommend A








* It's a fairly standard rule in the state and local government agencies I know of that those who make recommendations to various boards/commissions/elected officials are not permitted to voice any speculation regarding the decision that will be made.

Last edited by doreen; 05-28-2020 at 08:45 AM.
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Old 05-28-2020, 09:05 AM
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I mean , I could see if the rules/regulations/policies required that the corrugated iron remain, and that was the planners recommendation and the owners appealed to the council for a variance to allow the traditional black wood - but from my understanding of the discussion I've seen here, that isn't the case. The planner could recommend wood, the owners could want wood and a councilor could start a debate based on his or her own personal taste and preference to keep the iron to show the history of the building.
Strikes me that's a feature/bug of democracy. We vote in officials who do have the power to override experts, and we've essentially given them permission to do so. I don't see this is restricted to architecture - isn't it true for anything? How politicians choose to interpret and apply scientific recommendations on how to handle the Covid pandemic, for example?

As to the corrugated iron example, how do you write policies for every individual situation? Some planners may say the iron was an inappropriate application in the first place, another might say it was a clear demonstrate of the effect of industrialisation on the Victorian farming industry and deserves preservation for historical record, or it may have been a random experiment by a famous architect so should be preserved for that reason. There's going to be conflicting opinions, and ultimately it's the elected officials' authority to make the final decision. Times that by the 1000s of individual historic buildings with all their individual quirks, and you can see why it might be done on a case-by-case basis rather than a blanket 'wood good/corrugated iron bad' ruling.

I also think this idea that decisions are made at the whim of some politician's personal taste is perhaps a little unfair. It's not like they don't take advice or listen to experts. Sure, some are idiots, but most are trying to do the right thing.
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Old 05-28-2020, 09:43 AM
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If that was the USA, in both cases the owner could / would sue the council for damages and expenses due to this, I assume that can't happen in the UK?
Hah! I'm pretty sure any US city or county would just say "Sovereign Immunity!" and give them the finger. And probably tell you that you can get blue tarps at the nearest Home Depot or Lowe's.

There's no mandate or requirement in general saying that whatever approving/certifying/permitting authorities have to get their act together in *your* time frame. At best, there may be some sort of statutory limit on time- i.e. "The permit must be approved/denied within X weeks of submission."

So if you tried to sue them for damages, they'd first have to consent to be sued for it (how sovereign immunity works), and then prove that they did something out of the ordinary that caused you damages. Both of which would be a pretty unlikely occurrence.
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Old 05-28-2020, 11:38 AM
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As to the corrugated iron example, how do you write policies for every individual situation? Some planners may say the iron was an inappropriate application in the first place, another might say it was a clear demonstrate of the effect of industrialisation on the Victorian farming industry and deserves preservation for historical record, or it may have been a random experiment by a famous architect so should be preserved for that reason. There's going to be conflicting opinions, and ultimately it's the elected officials' authority to make the final decision. Times that by the 1000s of individual historic buildings with all their individual quirks, and you can see why it might be done on a case-by-case basis rather than a blanket 'wood good/corrugated iron bad' ruling.
I think that perhaps I'm not being clear - maybe you can't write policies for every individual situation , and different planners certainly have different opinions and maybe you do want the elected officials to make the final decision in every individual case. I have no argument with that in itself. Something similar happens at my government job - I make a recommendation to a board which makes the decision and they have no obligation to follow my recommendation. But nothing similar to this
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He met with them on camera and said he could not approve a historically accurate extension and then went through a bunch of clear changes and suggestions they'd need to do to get his approval. They did them all and he approved gladly, then the big shock was the council voting NO (in a public on-camera session) with the reason that they'd never approve a historically inaccurate extension.
would never happen. I make my recommendation and the board decides and that's it. I don't make suggestions to the people involved regarding how they can gain my approval, and in fact, they aren't even notified of what I recommended. They are only informed of the final decision. What is the point of the planner meeting with the people and suggesting changes to get his approval if his approval is neither binding nor necessary ? Why doesn't the planner simply give his recommendation to the council and let them vote without meeting with the owners and making suggestions? It seems like this case in particular involved making people jump through unnecessary hoops, and if you tell me that this is unusual or only happened to create drama for a TV show , I'll certainly believe it.
  #75  
Old 05-28-2020, 12:07 PM
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In a few instances buildings which were a recent pastiche of some style from the past have been suddenly listed, and then had to be de-listed again when the owner pointed out that it hadn't been there five minutes.
  #76  
Old 05-28-2020, 08:51 PM
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@Sanvito
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The issue was a debate amongst the planners and the council, who couldn't agree whether the corrugated iron should go, or whether it represented the historic life of the building and should be preserved.
Well what happened??? I can see both sides of this argument.

My money is on the black wood winning: based on my completely skewed and totally superficial knowledge gained from these shows and assorted Time Team episodes, (which qualifies me as a pseudo-expert), there seems to be a trend toward viewing the Victorian era renovations & alterations as a negative and trying to return things to the pre-Victorian looks. It seems the Victorians made lots of changes to re-make things their "idealized" view of architecture and style. Those Victorian alterations to older buildings seem to be frowned upon (or at least they were 10 years ago when these shows were filmed)?

@ bump
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prove that they did something out of the ordinary that caused you damages.
I don't know enough about Sovereign Immunity to comment on that specifically and how and when it's invoked. But meeting the stated planning requirements and still being rejected strikes me as being out of the ordinary.

Certainly in Canada, that's what you'd make your legal argument based on. You may not get damages, but you're really suing for them to allow permission.

Although as I've said, I literally can't imagine this kind of thing happening in Canada or the USA. As long as you meet the planning requirements (no variances), that's it: you get approval.
  #77  
Old 05-29-2020, 04:10 AM
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@Sanvito


Well what happened??? I can see both sides of this argument.
Sadly I don't have a conclusion to the story! I haven't seen them for years, and when I last did, the grain store still stood, dilapidated, waiting for a decision, corrugated iron still intact.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GMANCANADA View Post
My money is on the black wood winning: based on my completely skewed and totally superficial knowledge gained from these shows and assorted Time Team episodes, (which qualifies me as a pseudo-expert), there seems to be a trend toward viewing the Victorian era renovations & alterations as a negative and trying to return things to the pre-Victorian looks. It seems the Victorians made lots of changes to re-make things their "idealized" view of architecture and style. Those Victorian alterations to older buildings seem to be frowned upon (or at least they were 10 years ago when these shows were filmed)?
You're right that the Victorians did some shocking things (you should see Cardiff Castle, basically rebuilt by a coal-wealthy Duke into some true Disney-esque affair that looks more German than British). But that disdain is mostly reserved for when they were trying to create a pastiche of what they thought was old. I don't think the grain store fits that category.

Last edited by SanVito; 05-29-2020 at 04:12 AM.
  #78  
Old 05-29-2020, 04:16 AM
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HA! They've got a website - check this link and it looks like the grainstore (Granary) has, indeed, been reclad in Wood.
  #79  
Old 05-29-2020, 06:21 AM
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When this Ugly and long disused grain silo just outside Oxford was to be demolished, there was an attempt to have it listed. Fortunately, the attempt failed.

Last edited by bob++; 05-29-2020 at 06:21 AM.
  #80  
Old 05-29-2020, 07:25 AM
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When this Ugly and long disused grain silo just outside Oxford was to be demolished, there was an attempt to have it listed. Fortunately, the attempt failed.
Okay, lets use this as an example - this is Water Eaton Grain Silo [also link and more on Google]. It was built as a strategic grain silo in WW2, so its already not bog-standard grain architecture, but its a prominent visual reminder of an important part of the recent history of Britain and that region.

The question of conservation rests on what is significant about it and what we lose by its demolition [in this case] or conversion so that it loses whatever attributes convey its heritage value, whether that is its fabric, form, historical associations or unique features.

We'll never have any more authentic reminders of World War II than we have right now. Each building or structure that goes is gone for good. Do we manage that process by selecting what is left 'for posterity' while we have the luxury of choosing what to keep, so that we can select the best, most representative and storied examples, or do we wait until we realise 'shit, they're nearly all gone' and desperately try to keep the last few examples that have survived by chance, whether they are appropriate or not? One approach is sensible, strategic and ultimately less costly. Can you guess which?

Keeping heritage and creating a layered landscape that shows depth and richness gives people greater psychological comfort than living in something shiny and new -it promotes a feeling of solidity and permanence that gives us assurance that we are in a stable environment. Built fabric shows why each place is different, otherwise why would we go to Paris if the oldest building was 20 years old and exactly the same as you would see in the nearest city?
  #81  
Old 05-29-2020, 09:53 AM
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Heritage is big business in the UK, especially for fine examples of historic architectural styles. A nice day out it go off into the countryside and visit a National Trust or English Heritage property. These are large state backed organisations that preserve fine properties and run them as a visitor attractions and it accounts for a lot of internal tourism. These large organisations have the resources to care for listed buildings and make them accessible to the public. Tax changes earlier in the twentieth century made many big houses a huge burden to their aristocratic owners (they did very well in the 19th century). Rather than let them fall down and go to ruin families could bequest them in their wills to these state backed heritage organisations. Private individuals can also own listed buildings for their own enjoyment, if they have deep pockets and don't ruin them.

I have a fine listed building near where I live. It is owned by a wealthy banker. I think it is his pride and joy. Some years it is in the Open House scheme and he lets the public in to look around for a day or two. He get a bit exasperated with English Heritage, who can be very particular about the authenticity of paint, plaster and how repairs are done. But I think he shares the intention to conserve architectural heritage. Ownership of such old houses are, I think, rather like owning a classic car. It is a passion that comes at a price.

Some listed buildings are quite remarkable and are national treasures. Preserving the fine buildings that survived wartime bombings is a shared concern. A lot of post war building was modernist grey concrete blocks that seem so ugly compared to older styles. Near where I live there is a grand Victorian house. In its garden there is a row of attractive 1930s mock tudor small family houses, then next to that a 1970s home with a peculiar angular style. None are listed. Nearby are recently built small apartment blocks that seem to be been very cheaply done. This procession of styles shows how styles have changed and not necessarily for the better. Few modern developers seem to be much concerned with aesthetics of the buildings they erect. I expect building cheap means there are fewer options. All the more reason to ensure developers don't go around pulling down fine old buildings just to make some easy money. They don't get much sympathy and the local conservation societies keep a close eye on planning notices and voice objections from time to time. Nothing exercises property owners more than what some developer is up to in the neighbourhood.
  #82  
Old 05-29-2020, 04:58 PM
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With listed/conservation properties vs. a homeowners association, in each case you know that there are restrictions are in place when you buy BUT in a homeowners assoc. they're clearly spelled out, don't vary from home to home and not subject to capriciousness of administrators.

You don't have someone telling you that you can only put up red and green Christmas lights or you'll be fined and someone else telling you they don't personally like red and green lights and you must put up blue or you'll be fined.
Hah!

Many HOA rules are not so clearly spelled out; they are couched in terms such as "tasteful." What one HOA board member thinks is tasteful isn't necessarily what the rest of that same board views with approval, much less a different board in a different year.

Also, HOA rules are subject to change: the charter document spells out the terms under which the rules can be changed, but often enough a relatively small number of active members can vote in new rules that affect established homeowners. "Yes, you've been able to put up red and green lights for years and years, but we have a new rule and we don't allow that anymore" isn't impossible, or even necessarily rare.
  #83  
Old Yesterday, 06:34 AM
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Originally Posted by GMANCANADA View Post
I don't see anyone disagreeing with the Brit concept of "listed" and the restrictions it entail, I'm certainly not, I think its great. It's more the arbitrariness of how the rules are applied and the "Kafkaesque" Catch-22 nature in some cases. (Love that term Slaphead, thanks!)

With listed/conservation properties vs. a homeowners association, in each case you know that there are restrictions are in place when you buy BUT in a homeowners assoc. they're clearly spelled out, don't vary from home to home and not subject to capriciousness of administrators.
But that's the thing - if you buy a listed building, you know you're buying a building that will be subject to planning restrictions for changes. Unlike a HOA, it's not possible to know every single one of those rules in advance because each listed building is different, but you know there are going to be restrictions, and you have a general idea of what those might be. Most listed buildings, except grade 1, are in areas where the are other similar buildings, so you could speak to your future neighbours about what changes they were allowed or not allowed.

Most people don't encounter major problems - you'll only remember the ones that do.

Like I said, I live in a house that's in a conservation area. There are a number of things that can't be done to my house, but that also means they can't be done to my neighbours' houses. I love it. It means living with fewer building works, without my access to daylight being damaged, without the already high population density being increased beyond what health services and transport can cope with, and living on a street that mostly looks the same, externally, as it did in the 1830s - even the streetlights. Other streets very nearby look different, with buildings from all periods, so you can walk around and see history with every step.
  #84  
Old Yesterday, 06:46 AM
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But that's the thing - if you buy a listed building, you know you're buying a building that will be subject to planning restrictions for changes. Unlike a HOA, it's not possible to know every single one of those rules in advance because each listed building is different, but you know there are going to be restrictions, and you have a general idea of what those might be. Most listed buildings, except grade 1, are in areas where the are other similar buildings, so you could speak to your future neighbours about what changes they were allowed or not allowed. ...
Before I've bought places I've lived, I've commissioned termite inspections, building reports and audits of strata body corporate [the Australian version of multi-owner apartment committees] records, among other things. It's normal due diligence for the biggest investment most of us make in our lives. Professionally I've been asked lots of times to provide advice to would-be purchasers of heritage properties as to what the implications of purchasing a historic property, how it will allow or constrain their future plans, and what restrictions or obligations they might have.

I can have lots of sympathy for someone who inherits such a property, but a normal buyer is looking at sinking in about AU$500,000 as the base price and often lots more. They have no right to whinge about constraints if they do not do their due diligence to identify all the risks before they spend their money.
  #85  
Old Yesterday, 07:51 AM
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Hah!

Many HOA rules are not so clearly spelled out; they are couched in terms such as "tasteful." What one HOA board member thinks is tasteful isn't necessarily what the rest of that same board views with approval, much less a different board in a different year.

Also, HOA rules are subject to change: the charter document spells out the terms under which the rules can be changed, but often enough a relatively small number of active members can vote in new rules that affect established homeowners. "Yes, you've been able to put up red and green lights for years and years, but we have a new rule and we don't allow that anymore" isn't impossible, or even necessarily rare.
The joke about faculty politics also applies to HOA's - the politics are so vicious because the stakes are so small. most complaints I've read about HOA's seem to revolve around a small group of petty individuals who get themselves elected due to general apathy of the overall majority and then proceed to make life difficult for those they don't like.

The other difficulty with HOA's from what I've read is that unlike municipal councils they are not restrained by constitutional limits on what a government can do, since technically they are "associations" of homeowners, not governments - even though they have the force of law effectively in most configurations.
  #86  
Old Yesterday, 07:51 AM
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Okay, lets use this as an example - this is [URL="https://www.28dayslater.co.uk/threads/water-eaton-grain-silo-oxford-july-13.82723/"]Water Eaton Grain Silo/URL] [also link and more on Google]. It was built as a strategic grain silo in WW2, so its already not bog-standard grain architecture, but its a prominent visual reminder of an important part of the recent history of Britain and that region.

The question of conservation rests on what is significant about it and what we lose by its demolition [in this case] or conversion so that it loses whatever attributes convey its heritage value, whether that is its fabric, form, historical associations or unique features.

We'll never have any more authentic reminders of World War II than we have right now. Each building or structure that goes is gone for good. Do we manage that process by selecting what is left 'for posterity' while we have the luxury of choosing what to keep, so that we can select the best, most representative and storied examples, or do we wait until we realise 'shit, they're nearly all gone' and desperately try to keep the last few examples that have survived by chance, whether they are appropriate or not? One approach is sensible, strategic and ultimately less costly. Can you guess which?

Keeping heritage and creating a layered landscape that shows depth and richness gives people greater psychological comfort than living in something shiny and new -it promotes a feeling of solidity and permanence that gives us assurance that we are in a stable environment. Built fabric shows why each place is different, otherwise why would we go to Paris if the oldest building was 20 years old and exactly the same as you would see in the nearest city?
There are many many "authentic reminders of World War II" still around in the UK. Coventry Cathedral is a 14th C Cathedral bombed by the Luftwaffe in 1940 for example.

In these small islands, it sometimes seems that you can't put a spade into the ground without revealing some legacy of a former occupier. There are any number of fortifications dating from pre-Roman to WW2. There are Buildings, some quite ordinary, like the Wake Green Prefabs in Birmingham, and some extraordinary, like the 400,000 listed on the Historic England Website.

Last edited by bob++; Yesterday at 07:53 AM.
  #87  
Old Yesterday, 05:29 PM
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There are many many "authentic reminders of World War II" still around in the UK. Coventry Cathedral is a 14th C Cathedral bombed by the Luftwaffe in 1940 for example.

In these small islands, it sometimes seems that you can't put a spade into the ground without revealing some legacy of a former occupier. There are any number of fortifications dating from pre-Roman to WW2. There are Buildings, some quite ordinary, like the Wake Green Prefabs in Birmingham, and some extraordinary, like the 400,000 listed on the Historic England Website.
I agree that there are lots and they are often concrete and don't go away without a struggle. But the point is that they are a finite resource. While stuff is ubiquitous we tend to ignore it and not stop it being developed away and the population diminished, so there is a period during which it gets rarer and rarer, then usually we only realise it is at risk at the point where any decisions made to preserve it sensibly, ie choosing the best example, or the one which has the best conservation capacity, are no longer available. Like the Luftwaffe bombing cathedrals, we should take the opportunity for good strategic targeting while we have the chance, not try to make tactical action work for us later when all is lost [still working on that analogy but I'm sure it will be gold].
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