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Old 05-21-2020, 01:13 AM
GMANCANADA is offline
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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:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7jVH...wCA28V7OWGQBNo

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.

Questionst:
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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Old 05-21-2020, 01:57 AM
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First you need to appreciate just how many older structures we have in place, it is not at all unusual for people to be living in housing well over 150 years old, and not that rare for it to be getting on for 500 years old.

There is a wide feeling in the UK and Europe that historic structures are more than just personal real estate and are part of national or world heritage - the current owners are therefore guardians of that heritage, part of the conditions of being the owner of historic structures is the civil duty to protect our national identity.

Too many folk would like to live in a twee historic looking residence and soon find that these were not built to accommodate modern conveniences, from satellite dishes through to garages, so they are tempted to alter them with scant regard for the original structure.

Age is not the only criteria, it is also about the merit of a specific structure - so an example might be the Forth Rail Bridge - it is grade 1 listed which means it is of national importance, in fact this is also a UNESCO heritage site so it is considered a meaningful structure for the whole of mankind.

The other thing you will not realise is that during the 1950's and 1960's we lost a huge number of important structures due to redevelopment, some was based simply on greed and corruption by local authorities and wealthy individuals. This loss was so great that in some cities the whole character of the place has been irreversibly and detrimentally altered.

Context is also very important, one specific structure might not be important on its own however when taken into context with a whole district then lack of appropriateness within a certain setting can and does mean that whole streets and districts combine to create a certain invaluable setting.

....for example you might have seen shows on tv such as 'Peaky Blinders' where filming has taken place in certain areas that still retain much of their 1930's architecture - well we have many places that have a collective feel from varying historic eras - think of cities such as York, Bath, Edinburgh, London, Cheltenham.

The problem is that maintaining such structures in close to historic condition is not just a matter of using modern materials an methods - which are cheaper, for very good reasons. Like any form of restoration or historic repair you have to use similar or identical materials and methods - that gets expensive and many a structure has been marred in the past by unsympathetic restoration.


Amongst the worst at building restoration - especially churches - were the Victorians who frequently took buildings apart and rebuilt them in a manner that fitted their own aesthetic view of a fantasised history instead of the reality o - an example of this is the paint applied to the Apprentice Pillar in Rosslyn Chapel which has caused irreversible damage - it was painted over with a medium that has eaten into the stonework and cannot be removed without causing even more damage.

This is why methods and materials for restoration can be very tightly specified - to prevent such tragic damage

So, in order to protect our national heritage we have a scheme where potential candidates are proposed by authorities who are charged with their protection, the applications for listing are examined and decisions are made about the level of protection. The highest category of all cannot be altered structurally however their use can be changed with consent, they might be allowed to have other structures placed within them that do not alter the original fabric.

So yes, living in a listed building is also an obligation too - but anyone who wants to buy a listed structure is made very well aware of this, and this can both increase values or decrease them. The problem lies with derelict and semi-derelict structures, it is all too easy for owner to allow important structures to fall into disrepair and then claim the need for demolition - when the owner has in effect committed a slow form of historic vandalism, this has been very common and still many such structures are suffering under the ownership of greedy individuals who value money more than anything in life - more than our national heritage.

Imagine the outcry of Her Majesty were to decide to demolish the tower of London because she could make lots of money building new office blocks!

If we do not protect our heritage then we end up looking like Japan's cities, with little or no soul or history. Heritage is an immense industry - the value to tourism is absolutely huge and it also informs our own national character.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Listed_building
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Old 05-21-2020, 02:35 AM
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One of my friends from when I lived in the UK is a specialist carpenter (actually a carriage-maker) who has made a living working on listed buildings, using historic techniques and materials (to match the existing building works).

As far as council bureaucracy - that seems to be something that happens in the UK. My stepson worked in the UK for a while, checking and approving consents for the Environment agency. If he saw a consent that was nearly suitable for approval, he'd call or email the submitter and make the necessary recommendations to get it sorted. His UK colleagues would just reject the application, and leave it to the submitter to figure out why it had been rejected. He just could not understand the attitude.
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Old 05-21-2020, 03:14 AM
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@casdave
Quote:
There is a wide feeling in the UK and Europe that historic structures are more than just personal real estate and are part of national or world heritage - the current owners are therefore guardians of that heritage, part of the conditions of being the owner of historic structures is the civil duty to protect our national identity.
I understand that, I absolutely agree. I'm not saying that is any sort of issue, I think it's admirable. What I don't understand why so often the "council / planning" bureaucracy seems to fight that and make it hard for people.

The episodes on TV show sincere people, not developers, who want to best respectful to history, but their local council or planners basically screw them over.

As si_blakely notes:
Quote:
His UK colleagues would just reject the application, and leave it to the submitter to figure out why it had been rejected. He just could not understand the attitude.
This happens all the time: "I've requested feedback on the rejected application and they will meet me in 6 months, maybe". On one, they were trying to deal with British Heritage who had listed the dilapidated building to find and clearly determine what they could or couldn't do and it was over a year for a 30 minute meeting. Meanwhile the building continued to crumble.
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Old 05-21-2020, 04:05 AM
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Well, bear in mind that the TV shows generally show matters from the perspective of the applicant who has been rejected. He tells an edited story which present the matter in the light that he would want it to be seen, and then the programme-makiers further edit it to make "good television" - which often means depicting confrontation or provoking outrage.

Don't mistake these programmes for anything remotely like an investigation into the strengths and weaknesses of the UK's policies and practices regarding the conservation of cultural heritage.

Last edited by UDS; 05-21-2020 at 04:05 AM.
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Old 05-21-2020, 04:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by casdave View Post
Age is not the only criteria, it is also about the merit of a specific structure - so an example might be the Forth Rail Bridge - it is grade 1 listed which means it is of national importance, in fact this is also a UNESCO heritage site so it is considered a meaningful structure for the whole of mankind.
In Scotland it goes Category A, Category B & Category C, rather than Grade 1 etc. The Forth Bridge is Category A. I don't know what the differences are between Scotland and England with regard to the effects of listing, but you can read about the Scottish system here: https://www.historicenvironment.scot...ted-buildings/

To give some anecdotal perspective on how many buildings are listed and back up what casdave says about the number of homes that are more than 150 years old, I live in a house built in 1879 that isn't listed. I've had a look at the listed buildings in the parish (as somewhat surprisingly that's how the list works in Scotland) and there are lots of other mid to late 19th century houses that are not listed.
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Old 05-21-2020, 05:45 AM
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Making anything more than a minor change to an existing building requires 'planning permission'. This gives neighbours and the local Authority a chance to examine the proposals and to decide if they are happy with the appearance and the way it fits with the neighbourhood. It also requires Building regulations approval which determines if the plans are structurally in line with regulations.

Listed buildings have an extra layer of protection. There are many examples of post war development which has ruined the appearance of a village street or a city centre and the regulations were intended to prevent this kind of vandalism.

As UDS says above, the producers want conflict and the participants often have a grievance to air. I have, however, seen similar programmes where English Heritage has been fully engaged and gave considerable help to the owner. It does seem that the whole process takes an interminable time, but EH has limited resources.
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Old 05-21-2020, 06:21 AM
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An important complication is that it is a two-tiered process. The main purpose of the different grades of listed buildings is to distinguish which are of local importance and which are of national and international importance. The former are (usually) a matter just for the local council, whereas the latter also require the approval of the national heritage body, i.e. Historic England, Historic Scotland etc. One reason for this is that local councils have, if anything, tended to be rather lax in applying the rules.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GMANCANADA View Post
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.
That's an excellent example of how the issues are far more complex than you seem to assume. There is an enormous variety of roof slates used in historic building in Britain. The precise type varies by location and by the age of the building. Also, past repairs sometimes mean that the existing slates are a mixture of different types, so it may not be obvious which should be the ones to try to match. So the heritage authorities, such as Historic English, do publish detailed guidance on the subject. But those are necessarily rather more complicated than just a list of approved types.

Quote:
Originally Posted by casdave
Amongst the worst at building restoration - especially churches - were the Victorians who frequently took buildings apart and rebuilt them in a manner that fitted their own aesthetic view of a fantasised history instead of the reality o - an example of this is the paint applied to the Apprentice Pillar in Rosslyn Chapel which has caused irreversible damage - it was painted over with a medium that has eaten into the stonework and cannot be removed without causing even more damage.
Just to complicate things further, the churches of the major denominations in England and Scotland are exempt from the listing system, because those denominations have their own internal systems of regulating alterations to them. That's why the uselessness of the Church of England in protecting its buildings has long been the constant refrain of the 'Nooks and Corners' column in Private Eye.
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Old 05-21-2020, 07:27 AM
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Originally Posted by GMANCANADA View Post
Questionst:
What types of listed buildings are there and how do they become listed?
They're meant to be buildings with some sort of significance, they're put on a list by the Secretary of State.

Quote:
What sort of renovation restrictions does "listing" connote? (in general)
You need to apply for listed building consent from the local council to make any changes to the building. Any changes to the appearance of the building may also require planning permission, to be applied for separately.

Quote:
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?
If the council don't make a decision you can appeal to the Secretary of State, the time allowed varied but won't be three years. Applying for a change of use (eg, to residential) would also be a planning permission issue. In this situation the council should issue an order requiring the owner of the property to maintain it.

Quote:
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?
The job of the listed building people is to protect listed structures. The planning committee people have a different job. There's no reason they shouldn't have different requirements. If they contradict, no biggy. Just don't add the extension. Problem solved.

Quote:
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.
They don't have a list of approved historical tiles, because different buildings were build with different tiles over the course of many centuries. Sometimes you need slate, sometimes you need flat ceramic tiles, sometimes you need other things, sometimes you need thatching.

If they left the building exposed to the weather, they did that intentionally, because you can seal a building against the weather without tiles. IT's a very common problem for property owners to intentionally allow properties to become damaged, so they have an excuse to demolish.

Quote:
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?
The council is properly performing its statutory duties.
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Old 05-21-2020, 07:35 AM
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That's an excellent example of how the issues are far more complex than you seem to assume. There is an enormous variety of roof slates used in historic building in Britain. The precise type varies by location and by the age of the building. Also, past repairs sometimes mean that the existing slates are a mixture of different types, so it may not be obvious which should be the ones to try to match. So the heritage authorities, such as Historic English, do publish detailed guidance on the subject. But those are necessarily rather more complicated than just a list of approved types.
As well as stone and general construction style. I don't know about slate but just this weekend I saw several buildings on Wikipedia and I, even though I've only been exposed to them through Google Maps and Wikipedia for most of the regions, could ... not pin down which region the building was at based on style and color, but I was within 100 miles which isn't bad in American terms .

For instance the Cotswolds are famous for their honey-colored stone, and if you tried to repair a listed building with historically-accurate stone from other places to replace existing light-colored stone, I'd assume you could get your application rejected.
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Old 05-21-2020, 07:56 AM
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What would it take (short of a revolution) for the citizens of the UK to effect changes in this system? This sounds like the kind of nonsense that drove the colonies to revolt. Needless bureaucrats. What if everyone in some remote "historic" village decided they wanted satellite TV dishes added to their "listed" buildings, and installed them en masse? Would the local councils send for the army to dismantle them? Isn't it common sense that some of these structures were not designed to last a thousand years, and owners should not be forced to artificially keep them in such a state against their will. I have no problem with people who willingly want to do the kind of painstaking restorations described but by god it should not be mandated. Maybe the councils should evict all, take possession, and do all the restorations out of their own budgets, because I'm sure they don't provide one pence towards these restorations. Indeed, these so called experts probably draw handsome salaries telling people what they can and can't do.
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Old 05-21-2020, 08:16 AM
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I think we pretty much have an attitude that if you buy a listed building with a plan to change the use from agricultural to residential, you kind of deserve all the run-around you're going to get, because converting a historic barn, even if derelict, to a house is pretty much what the listed building system was intended to prevent. There will be something about the barn- the construction method or some other historical aspect, which is of interest. It won't have got listed status just because it's old. Leaving it derelict may well be completely fine for preserving the reason for it getting listed status, while converting it to a house may involve making alterations. The push to get it listed may have been largely because locals did not want it to become a residence.

On top of the whole listed building status aspect, 'barn conversions' are a bit of a polarising topic here anyway. It's very very hard in much of the country to get permission to build a residential property in the countryside from scratch. It used to be far easier to buy an existing building and convert it, which led to a whole load of farm buildings being turned into what are often pretty tasteless expensive residences, mainly by people moving away from the cities, in areas where locals were being denied permission to build homes for their families. Often, these left the absolute bare minimum of the original structure to be able to claim it as a conversion, rather than a new build. I believe the rules got tightened up a little, but it's still easier to get permission to convert than build from new, resulting in barns shooting up in value, out of the price of locals, and the regulations on building barns also being tightened up, making farmer's lives more difficult. This led to bad feeling in many rural areas.

It's (I suspect intentionally) very hard to prove, but there's a chance that, rather than simply rejecting permission, which would then need to be justified, the wannabe homeowners are instead being given a whole bunch of minor objections, which may be arcane and contradictory, but are all technically allowable under the guidelines, which are very broad to reflect the wide variety of structures which can be listed, in the hope they'll just decide it's too complicated, give up, and go away.
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Old 05-21-2020, 08:18 AM
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There are many historical zones and buildings in the US too, with similar arcane rules and boards. I grew up right next to one, and the people who lived in those houses couldn't do anything to the house without approval, which was often difficult and took considerable time to get approved. And the default answer for anything that changed the outside appearance of the house was always "No".
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Old 05-21-2020, 08:46 AM
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There certainly are some cases where the interpretation of rules can be petty and I have sympathy for people living in a building which is given listed status unexpectedly when they didn't want it, which can happen, usually in response to a planning application for a major change to a locally popular building which causes an outcry. For the most part though, if you don't want to be given extra rules and regulations on what you can do with your property, you don't buy somewhere with those rules and simply expect they won't be applied to you. It's made very clear what the status is.

For an example of petty, near where I used to live, a farming family applied for a change of use to add a small section of one of their fields onto their garden. Normal, this would be a virtually automatic yes, but their field was part of a famous view, and the application was rejected on the grounds that it would be 'an eyesore'. They were several miles away from the viewpoint, so the change would be undetectable to anyone not using a ruler to measure the position of their fence in the current view against the historical paintings and photographs. Somewhat unimpressed by this rejection, the farmers discovered that, while a change of use from agricultural to domestic garden did require permission, repainting the barn did not. I believe the attitude was 'eyesore they say? I'll give them an eyesore' so they painted every single panel of the barn in the direction of the viewpoint a different bright colour, and a sedate brown on the farmhouse side. Nothing whatsoever the council could do about it, and you could damn well see that mess from the viewpoint without needing a ruler.
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Old 05-21-2020, 09:00 AM
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On top of the whole listed building status aspect, 'barn conversions' are a bit of a polarising topic here anyway. It's very very hard in much of the country to get permission to build a residential property in the countryside from scratch. It used to be far easier to buy an existing building and convert it, which led to a whole load of farm buildings being turned into what are often pretty tasteless expensive residences, mainly by people moving away from the cities, in areas where locals were being denied permission to build homes for their families. Often, these left the absolute bare minimum of the original structure to be able to claim it as a conversion, rather than a new build. I believe the rules got tightened up a little, but it's still easier to get permission to convert than build from new, resulting in barns shooting up in value, out of the price of locals, and the regulations on building barns also being tightened up, making farmer's lives more difficult. This led to bad feeling in many rural areas.
That's interesting. During the quarantine, I've been watching a lot of a TV show called "Escape to the Country," which is one of those let's-watch-people-buy-a-house programs, the twist in this one being that it focuses on people from the cities who are moving to some rural UK county, usually because they want to retire there. The houses they look at include a lot of listed buildings, and a fair number of them are converted barns, or what were originally worker's cottages turned into residences. One would never know from watching that there was any controversy about that. But of course, these are people just looking to buy, not to make a lot of changes.

I do have a General Question. I notice on the wikipedia page about listed buildings, that the classifications for listing in England and Wales are "Grade I, Grade II*, and Grade II." How would you pronounce "Grade II*" if you were speaking it aloud?
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Old 05-21-2020, 09:10 AM
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First you need to appreciate just how many older structures we have in place, it is not at all unusual for people to be living in housing well over 150 years old, and not that rare for it to be getting on for 500 years old.

There is a wide feeling in the UK and Europe that historic structures are more than just personal real estate and are part of national or world heritage - the current owners are therefore guardians of that heritage, part of the conditions of being the owner of historic structures is the civil duty to protect our national identity.
That entire post is a beautiful example of how the mindset of people can vary from place to place. Foreigners often don't have a clue what the locals are thinking.

It is a generalization, of course, but casdave explained the sense of duty to culture and history which I've seen in many Europeans. A typical American, in contrast, will tend to have an attitude that "I'm the king of my house and I'll modify it however I like!" The American will often forget that he had better not buy a place which is on the National Register of Historic Places, or he'll end up facing problems similar to those described in this thread. The big difference of course, is that the USA is so much younger that we have far few such places.
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Old 05-21-2020, 09:46 AM
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Regulations don't happen in a vacuum. Various policies are put in place as reactions to perceived wrongs, which compound over time. Historic preservation has become, whether right or wrong, a means not only for protecting historical resources, but also a tool for NIMBY's, worrywarts, and busybodies to enforce the ideal vision of their community. They may be a majority, or they may be a very vocal minority, but in either case, the council is doing their bidding. There's good and bad on both sides of the table here, and it's by no means limited to the UK or Europe. Historical and environmental review have both been coopted in the US by interests with only tangential connections to their actual goals.

Aside from that, one of the interesting idiosyncrasies of the preservation movement is that many of the policies and standards were developed at the height of modernism in the 1950s through 1970s. This is where "additions and alterations should be of their time but also compatible with the original building" comes from. The "of their time" part comes straight out of modernist theory. The idea being to not try to fool anyone into thinking something new is old, but to be true to itself. That sounds all well and good, but because of the overall tenets of modernist design, it's often fundamentally opposed to being "compatible with the original building." Local vernacular versus high international style are about as far apart as one can get.

That leaves nearly every possible design solution open to interpretation and the whims of a particular review board. The more modernist interpretations gave us glass and steel additions to brick buildings, and facadectomies where the building was demolished but the facade retained as a framework for the new building behind it, or as a standalone art object disconnected from its original use. These strategies have for the most part been discredited and abandoned, since they oppose compatibility and even basic integrity.

To this day there's still no clarity on that issue. The best we've been able to narrow in on is that a glass and steel box is not an appropriate appendage to an historic building, nor is distressing new materials, or building walls and window slightly crooked to make it look older than it is. In between those two extremes however, it's still the wild west.
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Old 05-21-2020, 10:32 AM
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Local councils may be a bit sluggish, but being mostly funded by central government and thus having had their budgets cut over the last ten years, their planning departments have a heavy workload and something of a backlog.

We are a small country and have a desire expressed through legislation passed by elected governments to preserve the character of at least some of it. Listed status is not some sort of arbitrary tyranny imposed from above.

Parts of our country were bombed into oblivion in WW2, losing much that was of architectural and historical interest. The listing system was introduced after the war to try to stop the developers finishing the work that the Luftwaffe had started.

Nobody buys a building that's listed without knowing about it, and no building gets listed without a rigorous and publicly accountable process.

What we've happily never had are racially restricted covenants, no building has ever fallen into disrepair because it couldn't be sold to blacks or Jews. And we don't have home owners associations to tell us that we cant hang out our washing to dry.
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Old 05-21-2020, 11:15 AM
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Isn't it common sense that some of these structures were not designed to last a thousand years, and owners should not be forced to artificially keep them in such a state against their will.
No, it's not common sense. It's your opinion. If a majority of Brittons felt the same way they could get the laws changed, but as it is, most don't want a free-for-all, even if they disagree with some elements of regulation and enforcement, or the decisions that affect them personally.
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Old 05-21-2020, 11:18 AM
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How would you pronounce "Grade II*" if you were speaking it aloud?
"Grade Two Star" I think
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Old 05-21-2020, 11:23 AM
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That's interesting. During the quarantine, I've been watching a lot of a TV show called "Escape to the Country," which is one of those let's-watch-people-buy-a-house programs, the twist in this one being that it focuses on people from the cities who are moving to some rural UK county, usually because they want to retire there. The houses they look at include a lot of listed buildings, and a fair number of them are converted barns, or what were originally worker's cottages turned into residences. One would never know from watching that there was any controversy about that. But of course, these are people just looking to buy, not to make a lot of changes.

I do have a General Question. I notice on the wikipedia page about listed buildings, that the classifications for listing in England and Wales are "Grade I, Grade II*, and Grade II." How would you pronounce "Grade II*" if you were speaking it aloud?
Escape to the Country is fun, I do enjoy sniggering at the people who are totally unrealistic about how much space they need and what they'll be able to do and maintain, despite the fact they're at the age where downsizing to somewhere easier to get around would maybe be a better plan than buying an 8 bed converted mill on three levels with 15 acres and some cows, when the only livestock they've ever had before is a cat

There is definitely resistance to 'outsiders' moving in in some areas though, but it varies by region, and tends to flare up then die down. In Cornwall, where I am, a former workmate started a company intending to basically act as an agency to find houses for wealthy out-of area buyers who don't have the time to house search, then getting them renovated to buyer standards. I heard a lot of comments about the ethics of that from other workmates, and she was very quick to say she was only looking at dealing with the houses already out of price range for most locals. Complaints about second home owners ('from bloody London') are the usual complaint here, people who actually move properly less so. But then, I moved here, so I probably don't hear all the complaints.

We'd say 'Grade two', by the way.
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Old 05-21-2020, 11:35 AM
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As mentioned, there are places in the US with similar ordinances, but being a young country we don't have many old buildings. On the other hand, what we do have are old trees, and many places have restrictions on cutting "heritage trees", even though they are on your land and you technically own them.

Some examples from the San Francisco Bay Area:
https://www.sanjoseca.gov/your-gover...heritage-trees
https://www.cityofsanmateo.org/649/Heritage-Trees
https://www.mountainview.gov/depts/c...ee/default.asp
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Old 05-21-2020, 11:48 AM
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We have tree protection orders here in the UK too, in fact my parents' land includes a few trees with them, a few 300+ year old yews and a big oak. Same concept.

If you want a new level of complication, we also have Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs, as they're usually known). Changes to land within these also has more restrictions than usual. My parents land is in one, in fact. They were required to put a local slate roof on one of their work buildings 'to fit with the local area' because of this, despite the fact that roof is only visible from the air, and the AONB, which covers several villages and a large area of countryside, literally ends at the end of their land.

It is important to realise that we have a lot of people in not a lot of land here, as well as a lot of history. In many of the areas in which the heaviest restrictions apply, the local economy runs largely on tourism, and the tourists come precisely because of the local charm and history. If they loose the 'character', many locals also lose their major source of income, it's not just an abstract ideal.
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Old 05-21-2020, 12:03 PM
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Escape to the Country is fun, I do enjoy sniggering at the people who are totally unrealistic about how much space they need and what they'll be able to do and maintain, despite the fact they're at the age where downsizing to somewhere easier to get around would maybe be a better plan than buying an 8 bed converted mill on three levels with 15 acres and some cows, when the only livestock they've ever had before is a cat
Heh. I'm watching it for the same reason anybody watches those real estate shows--to get a look inside other people's houses!

Quote:
We'd say 'Grade two', by the way.
Thanks. I was asking specifically about the asterisk that seems to be part of the middle classification. My best guess would have been reading it as "Grade Two Star," as PatrickLondon suggests, but I wanted to be certain. Or are both Grade II* and Grade II just read as "Grade Two?"

I wonder why it isn't just I, II, and III?
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Old 05-21-2020, 12:18 PM
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With Grade I buildings you can't make any alterations, internal or external, or in some cases paint it a different colour, without permission. It is sometimes possible to get a grant for some of the work.

Grade II is normally external only. No grant.
Grade II* is perhaps the most difficult - some of the restrictions of Grade I but no public assistance.

There is general acceptance of this scheme, and very little pushback. People who are seen to have 'swerved round the rules', or tried to, will often receive heavy fines.

If the structure is in a dangerous condition, the council should, in theory use its powers to do the repairs itself and send the owner the bill. In practise, they hardly ever do as they have found it's often impossible to get their money back, especially if the owner lives abroad.
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Old 05-21-2020, 03:47 PM
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I wonder why it isn't just I, II, and III?
I would guess because Grade I and Grade II were already defined and in use and, when it was seen, subsequently, that a listed status between the two was needed, it was simpler to do this as a modification of one of the existing listed statuses.

Complete tangent: weíre asterisk fans in England. At some point in the 20 odd years since I did my GCSEs (which are exams you take at 16), a new grade named A* (A-star) was introduced. You could earn this by getting even better than an A. I still donít fully understand why they didnít just redistribute the grades, but I guess it needed to be compatible with qualifications passed before its introduction.

OB

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Old 05-21-2020, 04:31 PM
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...

If we do not protect our heritage then we end up looking like Japan's cities, with little or no soul or history. Heritage is an immense industry - the value to tourism is absolutely huge and it also informs our own national character.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Listed_building
No disagreement with most of your informed post; just the last bit about Japanese cities.

A little thing about World War II and the strategic bombing of Japan. Not just the atomic blasts covering Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but all the other, first large then medium, cities that were devastated by incendiary bombing. It was not an accident. The OSS (pre-CIA) specifically evaluated cities, not just for war industries; for finding the most flamable areas.

One exerpt: "We call this a trophy map," he said. "It's meant to convey, quite crudely, only the destruction of this city Ė and the absolute dominance of the Army Air Forces by the end of firebombing campaign. It's a way of capturing the might of American air power that emerged out of this conflict."

https://www.elsevier.com/connect/map...g-world-war-ii

The main source from above (pdf)
https://www.sciencedirect.com/scienc...05748812000266

tldr: There's a reason most Japanese cities are modern; it isn't historical preservation.
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Old 05-21-2020, 04:57 PM
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One of my friends from when I lived in the UK is a specialist carpenter (actually a carriage-maker) who has made a living working on listed buildings, using historic techniques and materials (to match the existing building works).

As far as council bureaucracy - that seems to be something that happens in the UK. My stepson worked in the UK for a while, checking and approving consents for the Environment agency. If he saw a consent that was nearly suitable for approval, he'd call or email the submitter and make the necessary recommendations to get it sorted. His UK colleagues would just reject the application, and leave it to the submitter to figure out why it had been rejected. He just could not understand the attitude.
Whilst in general I support the notion of protecting architectural heritage, I have some firsthand experience of what goes on inside local government planning departments (I worked in IT for local government for 6 years and you're invisible when you are fixing someone's computer). I saw a lot of what I would call completely arbitrary and subjective decisions - literally planning officers saying things like "I like this"; "this isn't very nice"; "mmmm, well, it's all in order, but I think we'll say no".
I suspect the job attracts, or maybe develops people who like to wield a bit of power and authority.
  #29  
Old 05-21-2020, 07:25 PM
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@casdave


I understand that, I absolutely agree. I'm not saying that is any sort of issue, I think it's admirable. What I don't understand why so often the "council / planning" bureaucracy seems to fight that and make it hard for people.

The episodes on TV show sincere people, not developers, who want to best respectful to history, but their local council or planners basically screw them over.

As si_blakely notes:

This happens all the time: "I've requested feedback on the rejected application and they will meet me in 6 months, maybe". On one, they were trying to deal with British Heritage who had listed the dilapidated building to find and clearly determine what they could or couldn't do and it was over a year for a 30 minute meeting. Meanwhile the building continued to crumble.
It's not incompetence. The council, or English Heritage (depending on the grading of the building) have to assess the building, its age, the proposed changes, etc, and then allow local residents to put forward objections. The local residents' objections can provide important information, like whether the change would block a protected view (and thus devalue their property in order to increase the value of a neighbouring property).

It's unlikely that the council would know the details of all protected views (which is just one example). The only way they could find that out in advance would be to inspect the view from every house. It's deemed better to not invade people's privacy that way for an event that doesn't come up that often, and instead let the residents provide the information themselves once they know a change might come about.

All major changes of use require months of wait for planning permission, not just for listed buildings. That's because you can't expect local residents to find out about it and respond in detail in a half hour meeting. They need time to read about it, research it, talk about alternatives, etc. In general planning permission goes in favour of the planners despite the delays, but sometimes there are changes made - it's better than a free-for-all.

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What would it take (short of a revolution) for the citizens of the UK to effect changes in this system? This sounds like the kind of nonsense that drove the colonies to revolt. Needless bureaucrats. What if everyone in some remote "historic" village decided they wanted satellite TV dishes added to their "listed" buildings, and installed them en masse? Would the local councils send for the army to dismantle them? Isn't it common sense that some of these structures were not designed to last a thousand years, and owners should not be forced to artificially keep them in such a state against their will. I have no problem with people who willingly want to do the kind of painstaking restorations described but by god it should not be mandated. Maybe the councils should evict all, take possession, and do all the restorations out of their own budgets, because I'm sure they don't provide one pence towards these restorations. Indeed, these so called experts probably draw handsome salaries telling people what they can and can't do.
It's just not going to happen. We like having listed buildings. If you buy a listed building, then you know what you're getting into. You also buy it partly because it's a listed building, so it looks nice and has heritage.

Most listed buildings in the UK weren't built 1000 years ago, but most of them were also built to last for a few hundred years - the fact that they have lasted, and still do, is evidence of that.

Trying to evict everyone who lives in a listed building really might start a revolution. There are tons of them! And yes, most people in listed buildings apart from grade 1 pay for the renovations themselves, or get only partial grants or tax rebates.

I live in a "conservation area." It works well. We're allowed to put up satellite dishes as long as they are the new, black mesh type, and don't damage the building - a huge one wouldn't be allowed. I was allowed to put security windows on the outside of my basement windows, but wouldn't be allowed to on the first floor windows, where they'd be more visible from the street. The reason the council allows that is sensible, too - the basement windows have street access (via a gate and stairs), but the first floor windows are difficult to access anyway due to the design of the building (built in about 1834).

We're allowed to develop the lofts into livable rooms, but not with anything more than a dormer window on the street side. Theoretically you could have have something large on the back view - it's practicalities WRT access that make that impossible. None of the restrictions are unreasonable.

We have reasonably large gardens for inner London, but no developer is allowed to build an extra dwelling in the back yard. Although in theory we do need more housing, public transport and doctors, schools, etc, are struggling to cope with our current local population, so the protected areas benefit even those who don't live in them.

The restrictions means we can live in relative peace without developers constantly digging things up, which was a huge problem in my flat a half mile away.
  #30  
Old 05-21-2020, 10:59 PM
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I wonder why it isn't just I, II, and III?
Because Grade II* is, in a sense, "Grade 1.5", or "Grade II+" or "Grade I-". Re-labelling all of Grade II as Grade III would be a bureaucratic faff and a recipe for confusion.
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Old 05-22-2020, 12:24 AM
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tldr: There's a reason most Japanese cities are modern; it isn't historical preservation.
Population has doubled, people have moved from the country to the cities, traditional Japanese building methods built disposable buildings, and economic booms are inevitably accompanied by building replacement.

Fire-bombing isn't the only reason some Japanese cities are modern and surrounded by miles of suburban dreck.
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Old 05-22-2020, 12:48 AM
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Thanks for the explanations of the various listing requirements and the wiki link. That made a lot of sense. I appreciate the spirit it's intended and agree completely. Lots of history has sadly been destroyed for the sake of modernization.

However I'm still struggling to understand the defence of the local council's. It truly does seem to me just a way for petty bureaucrats to flex their power and arbitrarily fuck people over.

@blindboyard
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There's no reason they shouldn't have different requirements. If they contradict, no biggy. Just don't add the extension. Problem solved.
I'm blown away by your comment, that's so harsh. There is every reason they shouldn't have different conflicting requirements which result in projects never being approved. Starting with not fucking over taxpayers, supporting local industries, creating employment, supporting investment in neighbourhoods & communities and fixing beloved "listed heritage buildings" plus many more. I'm stunned that deliberately fucking people over is an appropriate and acceptable response to you.

By way of more background: The family did their homework with the council before they bought and were told they could add an extension. The original place was small, and they only bought it because they were told it would be allowed to have an addition.

They spent a few hundred thousand pounds on a stunning historically perfect restoration (not renovation) including a £45K thatched roof. Paid to have a very authentic extension designed to give them the space they needed. The planner rejected that the design, it must not be authentic looking and historic, it must be modern looking (this is apparently BH's crystal-clear new direction, no more historically accurate extensions). They pay again to have it redesigned in a modern style (which he doesn't like and doesn't want) plus more delay costs.

They receive the planner's approval and at final council approval they're told an unequivocal no: the design must be historically accurate. But the planner refuses to give approval on that. That is indefensible to me.
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Old 05-22-2020, 01:05 AM
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I saw a lot of what I would call completely arbitrary and subjective decisions - literally planning officers saying things like "I like this"; "this isn't very nice"; "mmmm, well, it's all in order, but I think we'll say no".I suspect the job attracts, or maybe develops people who like to wield a bit of power and authority.
My impression, based solely on the drama of these shows, is that is 100% correct. In one episode a family was trying to renovate / restore a place and add an extension (which had been approved in principle). In this case planners rejected their specific plans 6 times over 4 years and never once did they receive any feedback on why it was rejected. No one would speak or meet with them (in 4 years!).

The local architect and builder, considered "local experts who know what the local planners want", had no idea. Everything they'd submitted was in keeping with other existing projects in the town. They'd tried historical, modern, taller, shorter, bigger, smaller, all were rejected for no reason.

It's actually heart-breaking to see these people lose their money & investment because of this shit. Which is exactly what the producers of the show want: drama, emotion and a villain-planner
  #34  
Old 05-22-2020, 03:41 AM
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Unless the actual interaction between martyred prospective renovator and Satan-in-the-guise-of-local-council-heritage-planner was completed in less than 27 minutes (including commercials), then what you see on TV has been edited down, and most likely not edited to accentuate the drama. The renovator has to be relatable, the host is contractually not allowed to be portrayed as a dickhead, the builders might sue, so who do you think is used to create dramatic tension, whether it there or not?

As someone who works professionally in this field, but not in the UK I've been happy to let others go in to bat for building conservation. Yes there are public servants who may be arbitrary, lazy or even malicious in considering a planning application, but on the whole they are good people doing their best with insufficient resources, and having to deal sometimes with capricious, nasty and willfully unhelpful applicants. You can't show the renovator as they may be; the worst Kevin McCloud can say about them is that they are extremely optimistic in expecting the eco-glass from Antwerp to be delivered on time.

This thread sat right next to one about non-existent application forms for selling fireworks in some American jurisdiction which is costing the people who want to supply this essential service Lots of Money. So its not just the UK and not just heritage where the system fails, but important stuff as well.

I'm not going to bother making the case for there being a collective good for society in coralling the individual's absolute right to do whatever they want with their stuff, regardless of its impact on anyone else or its cumulative impact on the environment where people live. Its being played out in various places where people are carrying guns to protect their right to behave like jerks even though that puts others at risk. Its the same ideological divide.
  #35  
Old 05-22-2020, 07:38 AM
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Property in the UK is something of an obsession and it is quite overvalued. Not enough housing is built for the demand and it is often built for the benefit of investors looking for a good return rather the needs of the people who live in the area. Property developers have committed some huge problems in the past and often with the approval of the local and national government. Vast areas of towns and cities were demolished and during the 60's and 70's to build new housing projects and the designs were often system build concrete blocks that became the new slums. The reasons for this were simple, the country was extensively bombed during WW2 and there was a post war housing crisis. It was a national project to rehouse people living in devastated areas and an opportunity to replace what was low grade slum housing with homes with the modern conveniences we come to expect like indoor toilets and bathrooms and heating systems. It was not just the UK, you see this all over Europe, where the bombing was intense:: huge, rather ugly, decaying and poorly maintained apartment blocks.

London is good example. In my area, the housing is Victorian, build around the 1890s. It was hit quite badly by the V1s and V2 campaigns and you can see on the bomb maps all the areas that were hit. These would have been derelict bomb sites until the post war rebuilding boom when small scale concrete blocks were build for social housing. It gives many areas of London a very diverse mix, you can find grand houses next to small social housing projects, especially in inner London.

Local planners operate in this environment and they spend a lot of time dealing with local property developers who are more likely hard nosed business people intent on making a money rather than dreamy eyed couples trying to build the perfect home for their family. Developers buy up properties in auctions and try various dodges to try and get planning permission through the local council planning department. Letting them rot until they start falling down and are condemned, is certainly one technique. So, too is knocking down all the trees and building at the end of the large gardens that come with the grander Victorian houses. Sometimes they just divide the house cheaply as possible into smaller apartments with little thought to heat of sound insulation. They know that sometimes they have to make several applications for planning permission, varying the design somewhat and later making alterations that they think will not be noticed on a visit by an overworked planning department. They can also appeal against the planning decisions, challenging the information about the local area the council planners on which they base the planning decision. There are lawyers who specialise in these cases. On the other side are local residents, community groups and historical associations that keep an eye on the planning process and try to ensure the whole area is not vandalised by unscrupulous developers. The English Heritage organisation is very strict, everyone knows that and developers usually stay well away from properties that are listed. But local councils can also create Conservation areas to ensure that the character of a particular area is maintained. There is usually a set of guidelines for property renovators and developers. The houses within these areas have more protection from the more aggressive projects.

Sad to say, observing the new buildings that do get built, they are often very ugly. They build small, boxy apartments with hardly room to swing a cat. They have small windows to comply with heat conservation regulations and there is usually some awful maintenance company that exists primarily to extract money from the leaseholders. Some council planning departments can specify that some of the apartments are supposed to be sold at 'affordable' prices rather than wealthier home owners. Developers sometimes try to prevent the low rent tenants from access to common areas and we have the issue of 'poor doors' - the scandal of separate entrances for the 'social' tenants. Property and Class politics are never far below from the service in local planning rows and the neighbours are always a little too close for comfort.

UK cities are crowded and so many people dream of an escape to the countryside, to live an idyllic life free from the stresses of the city. Green Wellington boots and Barbour jackets and families in Landrovers are common sight in the tea rooms of small towns and villages of the lovely South West counties of Devon and Cornwall. TV programs that follow this dream are common. Sadly on this small island there are not quite enough tumble down farm houses in need of some care and attention by dreamy renovators and so the English are great buyers of property in rural France, Spain and Italy. Where they have all kinds of adventures dealing with local officials and builders and making sense of the local culture. Why there is even a genre of fiction dedicated to this theme. Peter Mayle and his Year in Provence, captured the dreams of many a well heeled middle class couple hoping to find rural bliss in the French countryside. They are generally welcomed because they are rich, adore the food and wine and employ many locals. The French themselves would never think of renovating a property and the rest of France are none too fond of rich French people, especially if they come from Paris.

I guess it is more TV and book friendly to write about the bemusing eccentricities of the rural French than dealing with awful familiarity of the English equivalent. The US has such a different geography, vast open land, huge plots for building, different climatic conditions and I presume some big cultural differences between country folk and big city people. I assume there are quite a few stories about city people upping sticks and moving to the countryside.
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Old 05-22-2020, 09:21 AM
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Some time back there was a case in the papers of a pub management co which demolished a listed building inn over the weekend, knowing that it would be an accomplished fact when the Council opened up for business again on Monday. They were compelled to reinstate an exact replica of it, just to teach them a lesson.
  #37  
Old 05-22-2020, 09:33 AM
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That'd be this place

https://www.kilburntimes.co.uk/news/...open-1-6011120
  #38  
Old 05-22-2020, 01:53 PM
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This farmer tried to disguise his house as a barn to dodge the planning regulations. He got caught and had to pull it down.

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...-planners.html

When very wealthy people buy houses in London, the planning regulations insist the exterior features are preserved. So the dig deep and excavate a couple of floors for the gym and swimming pool and extend the building under the garden as to the property boundary....or further. Sometimes it goes horribly wrong and they endanger neighbouring properties and then there is usually a a clash of egos and and lawyers get involved. Happens in desirable areas like Notting Hill.

https://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle...-a3133211.html

The British are a quite obsessed with property. If you can afford the live in a beautiful Georgian mansion, you have certainly arrived.
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Old 05-22-2020, 04:41 PM
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I assume there are quite a few stories about city people upping sticks and moving to the countryside.
There's the classic work on this topic: Green Acres.
  #40  
Old 05-22-2020, 11:50 PM
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Thanks for the explanations of the various listing requirements and the wiki link. That made a lot of sense. I appreciate the spirit it's intended and agree completely. Lots of history has sadly been destroyed for the sake of modernization.

However I'm still struggling to understand the defence of the local council's. It truly does seem to me just a way for petty bureaucrats to flex their power and arbitrarily fuck people over.

@blindboyard


I'm blown away by your comment, that's so harsh. There is every reason they shouldn't have different conflicting requirements which result in projects never being approved. Starting with not fucking over taxpayers, supporting local industries, creating employment, supporting investment in neighbourhoods & communities and fixing beloved "listed heritage buildings" plus many more. I'm stunned that deliberately fucking people over is an appropriate and acceptable response to you.

By way of more background: The family did their homework with the council before they bought and were told they could add an extension. The original place was small, and they only bought it because they were told it would be allowed to have an addition.

They spent a few hundred thousand pounds on a stunning historically perfect restoration (not renovation) including a £45K thatched roof. Paid to have a very authentic extension designed to give them the space they needed. The planner rejected that the design, it must not be authentic looking and historic, it must be modern looking (this is apparently BH's crystal-clear new direction, no more historically accurate extensions). They pay again to have it redesigned in a modern style (which he doesn't like and doesn't want) plus more delay costs.

They receive the planner's approval and at final council approval they're told an unequivocal no: the design must be historically accurate. But the planner refuses to give approval on that. That is indefensible to me.
That particular example sounds like there are incompetent people at the local council, if you're remembering it exactly as it happened. But it doesn't mean the whole system is worth throwing out. Almost all the time it's about not fucking people over. A free-for-all on changes would cause way more problems than it would solve.

BTW there's no such organisation as British Heritage - there's English Heritage, Scottish Heritage, etc.
  #41  
Old 05-23-2020, 03:22 AM
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I'm blown away by your comment, that's so harsh. There is every reason they shouldn't have different conflicting requirements which result in projects never being approved. Starting with not fucking over taxpayers, supporting local industries, creating employment, supporting investment in neighbourhoods & communities and fixing beloved "listed heritage buildings" plus many more. I'm stunned that deliberately fucking people over is an appropriate and acceptable response to you.
The planning people are there to protect the character of the area. The listed building people are meant to protect the building itself. Neither of these groups should be helping rich people vandalise historic buildings by adding giant extensions onto them.

Quote:
By way of more background: The family did their homework with the council before they bought and were told they could add an extension. The original place was small, and they only bought it because they were told it would be allowed to have an addition.
You can apply for planning permission on a property you don't own, evidently they chose not to do that. They just assumed they would get their way.
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Old 05-23-2020, 04:44 AM
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@blindboyard
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helping rich people vandalise historic buildings by adding giant extensions onto them.
I'm at a loss for words. but i'm guessing you didn't bother to read my post. At least you're consistently harsh.

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You can apply for planning permission on a property you don't own, evidently they chose not to do that. They just assumed they would get their way
So you're saying that in the UK before you buy a property, you ask the owners to let you go into every room, take measurements, have and full architectural drawings done and you can submit them to the planner, the owners will wait while you go through a go through a multi-year planning process, hoping you get permission???? It would have never crossed my mind to do that.
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Old 05-23-2020, 05:03 AM
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@SciFiSam
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That particular example sounds like there are incompetent people at the local council, if you're remembering it exactly as it happened.
In this episode the planner was actually great. 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. The look on their faces was incredulous. It was very good TV.

@ Banksiaman
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The renovator has to be relatable, the host is contractually not allowed to be portrayed as a dickhead, the builders might sue, so who do you think is used to create dramatic tension, whether it there or not?
I'm sure you're right, but I was thinking that since these were British, they didn't do the same manipulative fakery the US reality shows do.
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Old 05-23-2020, 09:55 AM
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Sounded intriguing, but Escape to the Country isn't on Netflix any more, so far as I can tell.
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Old 05-23-2020, 10:07 AM
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So you're saying that in the UK before you buy a property, you ask the owners to let you go into every room, take measurements, have and full architectural drawings done and you can submit them to the planner, the owners will wait while you go through a go through a multi-year planning process, hoping you get permission???? It would have never crossed my mind to do that.
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.
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Old 05-23-2020, 11:26 AM
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That entire post is a beautiful example of how the mindset of people can vary from place to place. Foreigners often don't have a clue what the locals are thinking.

It is a generalization, of course, but casdave explained the sense of duty to culture and history which I've seen in many Europeans. A typical American, in contrast, will tend to have an attitude that "I'm the king of my house and I'll modify it however I like!" The American will often forget that he had better not buy a place which is on the National Register of Historic Places, or he'll end up facing problems similar to those described in this thread. The big difference of course, is that the USA is so much younger that we have far few such places.
I think this is the key to my objection. We have fewer building of "historic" significance. But I suspect even that definition is different for both countries. Just because I had a farmhouse from 1865 doesn't mean it's hands-off in the US. It has to have significance other than it's old.
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Old 05-23-2020, 11:39 AM
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I think this is the key to my objection. We have fewer building of "historic" significance. But I suspect even that definition is different for both countries. Just because I had a farmhouse from 1865 doesn't mean it's hands-off in the US. It has to have significance other than it's old.
As I've already mentioned, an 1865 farmhouse in the UK probably wouldn't be listed.
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Old 05-23-2020, 12:40 PM
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The whole listing thing developed as a reaction to the people whose attitude was "I'll do what the hell I like with my property" - it wasn't until the Ancient Monuments Protection Act 1882 that there was anything to prevent property owners from doing what they will, with what they hold.
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Old 05-23-2020, 08:42 PM
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@PatrickLondon
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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.
That's how I assumed the process would work. You're really not getting planning "permission", you're getting a general feeling for whether you can do what you want. That's how it works here: you can ask the city what the planning restrictions are on the property in advance of purchase. They don't tell you definitively, but you're able to get a good idea from the restrictions of how likely it would be to get proposed changes approved. Basically, the greater the variance to the plan the less likely to get approval (and the greater the variance the longer the approval process).

I agree with blindboyard that if you don't do that, tough luck. That's your fault, not the council's. You deserve whatever costs and trouble result.

Without restating my posts, it was exactly what they did and why they bought. It was more the complete "Catch-22" contradiction between the council's planner and the council itself that surprised me. As far as the appeals go, as the show ended, they were deciding on what to do next.

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Sounded intriguing, but Escape to the Country isn't on Netflix any more, so far as I can tell.
Try Youtube, I've watched lots of full episodes there.
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Old 05-23-2020, 10:47 PM
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@PatrickLondon



Try Youtube, I've watched lots of full episodes there.
Ah, okay. I found one. People looking for a 1.25 million pound hovel. How can people bear to slum like that?
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