Owner of listed building in Boston is fined for raising roof

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A Boston property owner has been prosecuted for ‘raising the roof’.

Patricia Wainwright, the owner of the Grade II listed building on Witham Bank West, Boston, was ordered to pay a total of £2,672.63 after a hearing at Lincoln Magistrates’ Court for carrying out unauthorised works to a statutorily Listed Building.

Boston Borough Council first became aware that extensive works were being carried out to the property in November 2017. Council officers inspected the property and found that the entire rear element of the roof had been removed and that the rear and side walls had been significantly raised with new window openings and a new roof had been built with a much different profile to that of the original.

On investigation, it was found that council had previously refused Ms Wainwright permission several years earlier to carry out the very same works because of the negative impact that they would have on the architectural and historical importance of the building. The carrying out of works to a listed building without obtaining the necessary consent from the council is a criminal offence and Boston Borough Council therefore took Ms Wainwright to court. Ms Wainwright attended the hearing at Lincoln Magistrates’ Court (on July 26) and pleaded guilty to the offence, having pleaded not guilty at an earlier hearing.

She claimed that the works did not affect the character of the building and that they were urgently needed to protect the building from water ingress which she said was causing serious damp problems.

The Council did not dispute that repair works might have been needed but contended that the works that had been undertaken clearly went over and above what was reasonably required to stop the water getting in to the building, and that the works adversely affected the historic and architectural character of the building and that in any case listed building consent was required and Ms Wainwright was fully aware of this.

The magistrates agreed with the council, saying that Ms Wainwright clearly knew that she should have obtained permission to carry out the works to her property and they believed that the works were very significant in nature and that the rules to protect heritage assets were in place for very good reason and should not be ignored.

The magistrates’ sentenced Ms Wainwright to a fine of £1,500 with full costs amounting to £1022.63 awarded to the council and imposed a victim surcharge of £150, a total of £2672.63. The Magistrates said that the fine would have been much higher but they took in to account that the builders had left the site and therefore Ms Wainwright was now left with unfinished building works.

Ms Wainwright has now been served a listed building enforcement notice by the council requiring that she remove the unauthorised works carried out to the building and reinstate it to its original state, or face further legal action being taken against her.

Statutorily listed buildings are protected by law and it is a criminal offence to carry out unauthorised works to alter or extend such buildings without first obtaining listed building consent from the local planning authority.

Boston Borough Council has encouraged all owners of such properties to seek guidance from the council before carrying out any works to a listed building.The planning team can be contacted on 01205 314305 or by email at planning@boston.gov.uk for advice.

The council said it hoped that this action will serve as a reminder to owners of all listed buildings that they must ensure that they seek the proper authority before carrying our works and that where necessary the council will consider using its legal powers against those that do not and that this ultimately could result in legal action being taken.