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Old 05-21-2020, 01:13 AM
GMANCANADA is offline
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Toronto
Posts: 581

Brits: Explain "Listed" buildings and renovations

[Mods - I'm looking for facts based answers, but they may be opinions, feel free to move it you want]

So during the lockdown I've started watching some British renovation shows. I started with Grand Designs on Netflix and have now graduated to Restoration Man and other similar shows that are available on Youtube:

While I love both, I enjoy Restoration Man a little more than Grand Designs since I personally like the historical angle. However it seems the British governments are incredibly dysfunctional when it comes to fixing up old homes. I'm not even the homeowner and I want to scream at the TV in frustration at the council bullshit and approval process they put people through in every episode.

What types of listed buildings are there and how do they become listed?

What sort of renovation restrictions does "listing" connote? (in general)

Why do the councils prefer to see buildings decay rather than allow owners any latitude when it comes to renovating? (i.e.: a building was "agricultural" (storage barn) but had been derilect for 30 years and was collapsing. A family buys it hoping to convert to residential = 3 years approval process = collapsed walls = WTF?

The english "council" bureaucracy seems off-the-charts dysfunctional and Pythonesque in their absurdity. A) Is this typical of the UK? B) If so, why do Brits simply accept this level of government dysfunctionality?
For example: When dealing with the council and planners it seems like they very often contradict each other to the detriment and expense of the homeowner. For example a man wanted to put a historically consistent extension onto a 1700's house. The planner denied it saying the extension must look visually different (i.e. modern style). So he paid to redesign etc. submitted it to the council and a year later they then deny it saying it needed to be the same as the old structure. WTF?

Another couple had to completely replace the roof due to damage (and got permission to do so), but it took the planner 4 months to get back to them with approval for the type of slate tiles they picked. WTF? How do they not just have a list of "approved historical tiles" - pick any one? Meanwhile, the place was exposed all winter and sustained big damage.

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?


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