Why it pays to plan ahead when updating listed buildings

The listed property show is coming to town with tips on how to buy and restore and maintain historic property. Sharon Dale reports on why it pays to plan.

The Orchard, Sutton-on-the-Forest, is a grade two listed and has been sensitively extended and modernised. It is for sale at £995,000 with www.carterjonas.co.uk

There are two ways that buyers look at listed buildings for sale. They either love the fact the property is historic with period features protected by law or they panic at the thought of possible planning wrangles and puzzle over maintenance issues, like how find a lime plasterer.

So, if you are selling a listed property that needs modernisation or has potential for further development, it can help to get all the permissions in place before you put it on the market.

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Edward Stoyle, of Carter Jonas, says: “Getting listed building consent can be a long process plus there is an element of risk as you don’t know what the conservation officer will insist on. These days you can’t just ring up the planning department and have a chat about what you might want to do to a building, you have to put in an application If plans are in place and approved it can be very attractive to buyers as it removes delay and uncertainty.”

He points to Old Fox House at Nether Poppleton. The owners instructed Native Architects in York to design a sensitive remodelling of the grade two listed home. Planning permission was granted and now buyers are clamouring to view the property.

“It was on two years ago and took a while sell because it had no permissions in place. This time there has been a deluge of interest. Having approved plans has brought more viewings and will attract more offers, which will maximise the value of the property and the speed up the sale,” says Edward.

The cost getting an architect to design a scheme and negotiate planning permission and listed buildings consent ranges from about £2,000 to £5,000.

If you are happy to buy first and seek planning permission and listed building consent later, then be prepared to wait and negotiate. Conservation officers are tasked with preserving our architectural heritage and they take the job seriously. However, what is and is not acceptable when modernising a listed building can be subjective, which is where knowledge and negotiating skills are useful. It helps to engage an architect who is used to dealing with historic buildings.

That’s exactly what David and Hilary Rothwell did when they bought their grade two listed house at Sutton-on-the-Forest, near York. Thanks to help from local architect, Matthew Groom, of Brierley Groom, who drew up an ambitious scheme, they got permission for a major update, along with extensions and conversions that have increased square footage and equipped the house for modern living.

The couple replaced an older extension with a larger one, which houses a living kitchen and orangery with views over the garden. They built a new three car garage with an apartment above, turned the old garage into a guest cottage and converted an old smithy into a separate dwelling. The result is a sensational home that has a mix of period and contemporary features.

“It didn’t happen overnight, which was quite frustrating at times, but we wanted to do it properly and we are really pleased with the results. It really helped having Matthew on board s he knew the area and the planning authority,” says Mrs Rothwell.

The Orchard is now on the market for £995,000 as the Rothwell’s are selling to move closer to their children and grandchildren. They are leaving their buyer with the chance to put a side extension on the main house.

“The Orchard shows what can be achieved with a listed building if you engage with the experts . The key is to get a good architect and work with the conservation officer,” says Edward Stoyle.

*The Listed Property Show is coming to Harrogate on March 12 and 13. The event at the Harrogate International Centre is organised by The Listed Property Owners Club in association with Historic England. There will be suppliers and specialists there, along with conservation officers and architects. The show also has lectures on everything from tracing the history of your home to how to choose the right contractor. The show will also host demonstrations on traditional trades, including lead work, plaster work and wood carving. Tickets for the event are free to download from  www.lpoc.co.uk/property-show. For more details on the Listed Property Owners Club visit www.lpoc.co.uk. To find out whether a building is listed, contact Historic England or search their database online at www.historicengland.org.uk.