Listed Building staircase

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    Listed Building staircase

    I live in a Grade Two Listed cottage in which the staircase was moved before it was listed and we moved in. Am I now allowed to move the staircase back to its original position?

    #2
    Not without consent. Building is protected as it was at time of listing, but check what's included in your case.

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      #3
      Ask English Heritage.

      They may welcome the idea of moving it back to the original position, as long as it is done as a 'sympathetic' restoration of an original feature.

      Why do you want to move it? (It's a question that they will ask).

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        #4
        Thank you. Most helpful. I am 80 years old and would like to install a pneumatic vacuum lift but the only place I could do this would be where the 'new' stairs now stand.

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          #5
          This page is a good starting point for anyone thinking about making changes to a listed building, and there are other pages on the same website with substantive advice: Who Do I Contact About Making Changes? | Historic England

          To summarise, in the first instance you should ask the conservation officer at your local council for some guidance (if there are no direct contact details for them on your council website then you should be able to get in contact with them via the planning dept). In my (albeit limited) experience, conservation officers tend to be friendly and helpful people, and are pleased to assist owners of listed buildings who get in touch with them proactively on this sort of issue.

          Whatever the conservation officer says on the acceptability of the works in principle, however, to move a staircase he/she will almost certainly say that you need to obtain listed buildings consent. Depending on how fussy the conservation officer is, this may well require architectural drawings and a covering statement about relevant heritage issues (which, depending on the complexity, you could write yourself or you could get a heritage architect or heritage consultant to write for you).

          Originally posted by nukecad View Post
          Ask English Heritage.
          That isn't correct. Historic England (not English Heritage) would only get involved if it were a Grade 2* or Grade 1 listed building, or if very major works (such as complete demolition) were proposed to a Grade 2 listed building. And even then they would be consulted by the local planning authority rather than the home owner directly. Historic England does have some general advice on its website however.

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            #6
            Originally posted by JamesHopeful View Post
            To summarise, in the first instance you should ask the conservation officer at your local council for some guidance (if there are no direct contact details for them on your council website then you should be able to get in contact with them via the planning dept). In my (albeit limited) experience, conservation officers tend to be friendly and helpful people, and are pleased to assist owners of listed buildings who get in touch with them proactively on this sort of issue.
            .
            That's if your authority even has a dedicated conservation officer. Surprsingly my LA, Canterbury has quite a few well known historic buildings but no conservation officer. Yipes.

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              #7
              Does anyone know where the staircase is? Grade 2 used to be outside only but over the years it has been expanded. If the inside wasn't inspected when it was listed there's a good chance they don't know anything about the inside. Unless the staircase itself was listed. Our barn was listed grade 2 when the stone slate roof was 'fixed' with corrugated tin and cement on about 1/3 of the roof. No one suggested we put the tins back on when we reroofed it.

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                #8
                Originally posted by Section20z View Post

                That's if your authority even has a dedicated conservation officer. Surprsingly my LA, Canterbury has quite a few well known historic buildings but no conservation officer. Yipes.
                I'm surprised! However, there must still be someone at the council who deals with applications for listed buildings consent who should be able to help, even if they don't actually have the job title of conservation officer.

                Originally posted by royw View Post
                Does anyone know where the staircase is? Grade 2 used to be outside only but over the years it has been expanded. If the inside wasn't inspected when it was listed there's a good chance they don't know anything about the inside. Unless the staircase itself was listed. Our barn was listed grade 2 when the stone slate roof was 'fixed' with corrugated tin and cement on about 1/3 of the roof. No one suggested we put the tins back on when we reroofed it.
                While it may be the case that the council doesn't actually hold any records regarding the interior of the building, the current legal situation is that the whole building (inside and out) is listed even at Grade 2 level and any alterations to the building which affect its character as a building of special architectural or historic interest require listed buildings consent. Moving a staircase would certainly come within this category of alteration (even if you were to argue that you were affecting its character positively, by putting the staircase back in its original position!).

                If you make changes without listed buildings consent, I agree that if it's purely internal it's fairly unlikely that the council will pick up on it provided you do it discreetly (unless you have a curtain-twitcher neighbour who reports you, which did actually happen to me when I was just clearing rubbish from and undertaking a few minor repairs on a listed building I own!). However, you will face issues when you come to sell the building. Buyers (and their solicitors) can be very jumpy about unauthorised alterations to a listed building as, unlike with planning permission, there's no limitation period for enforcement and responsibility for rectfiying any unauthorised works gets passed on with the ownership of the building. At best the potential buyer may be willing to proceed with indemnity insurance. The person who authorises or undertakes non-consented works (i.e. the owner at the time of the works and/or their builder) is also committing a criminal offence, which'd certainly get me worried, albeit that councils only tend to prosecute the most egregious cases.

                In relation to your roof, I think you could reasonably consider the re-roofing as a whole (including the replacement of the shoddy corrugated tin bits with proper stone roofing) to be a repair rather than an alteration, therefore not needing consent. That argument wouldn't hold with moving a staircase, however.

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                  #9
                  get the lift people in to advise what they could do, and where and work round the practicalities. TBH if I was eighty I probably wouldnt even ask any officials but just get on with it.

                  Comment


                    #10
                    Originally posted by JamesHopeful View Post
                    That isn't correct. Historic England (not English Heritage) would only get involved if it were a Grade 2* or Grade 1 listed building,
                    Apologies, I was using the old name (pre-2015) as most people do still use it. (A bit like some landlords still incorrectly referring to DSS).

                    The OP did state that the building is Grade Two listed, so it may be 2*.

                    However, restoring a staircase to it's original position is a whole different ball game to installing a new lift.

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                      #11
                      For clarity, all listed buildings of whatever grade, were listed to the interior as well as the exterior from the date of listing.

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                        #12
                        What was the difference between grade 1 and grade 2 then? And why didn't they inspect the inside?

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Find out about listed buildings and other protected sites, and search the National Heritage List for England (NHLE).

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Originally posted by royw View Post
                            What was the difference between grade 1 and grade 2 then? And why didn't they inspect the inside?
                            The difference between Grade 2, Grade 2* and Grade 1 is the level of significance of the building. Only the most historically and architecturally significant buildings are Grade 1 listed. The vast majority of houses which are listed are at Grade 2. I’d be very surprised to find any of the few houses which are Grade 2* or Grade 1 listed turning up in the general rental market – we are talking the likes of Blenheim Palace, or highly-unusual survivors such as well-preserved mediaeval houses.

                            In terms of practical differences for the owner of the listed building, the main one is that you are more likely to be granted listed buildings consent for alterations to a Grade 2 listed building than for Grade 2*/Grade 1, and the consent will probably come with fewer conditions. It is also a quicker process as for Grade 2 listed buildings your local council can usually take the decision itself in the standard 8 weeks, but for Grade 2*/Grade 1 they have to consult Historic England (or Welsh/Scottish/Northern Irish equivalents) before granting any listed buildings consent.

                            There are various reasons why the interior of the property might not have been inspected upon listing. Often it would be something as simple as the owner at the time of the listing being uncooperative and not allowing access. It might also be that Historic England (or equivalent body) was listing a lot of properties at the same time in one area (which they have done in the past upon the listing criteria being broadened) and didn’t have the staff to undertake internal inspections of all of them. Anyway, the law and guidance is absolutely clear on the point that listing always covers both interior and exterior, regardless of which grade it is and regardless of whether the interior has actually been inspected or described in the listing.

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                              #15
                              Best you enlist the help of a historic building specialist. Listed building ownership is a pain in the @r5e

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