Former parish council chairman who illegally demolished listed farm building is prosecuted - more than ten years later

Greg Cropper, who demolished a listed farm building in Holmfirth after being refused planning permission to change its use to a dwelling
Greg Cropper, who demolished a listed farm building in Holmfirth after being refused planning permission to change its use to a dwelling
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An ex-councillor who demolished a listed farm building at his home in Yorkshire was ordered to pay hundreds in damages - despite the demolition having been carried out a decade ago.

Greg Cropper, a former chairman of the Holme Valley Parish Council, had the building knocked down and replaced with a new property at the farm in Upperthong, near Huddersfield.

Mr Cropper tore down the building after being refused permission to change its use to a residential property, so decided to erect a new one in its place.

The 62-year-old was prosecuted by Kirklees Council after the authorised demolition which may date as far back as 2008.

Mr Cropper was taken to court by the local authority after the alterations came to light when he applied for the farm building's use to be officially changed to a dwelling.

A listed building inspector who visited the farm discovered a much newer building than expected, which in turn led to Mr Cropper being prosecuted.

It later came to light that after an initial application for turning the original listed building into a residential property was refused, Cropper instead tore it down and built a new one in its place.

Another property on the same site had also been extended, again without permission.

The crime went undetected for more than a decade due to the farm's rural location and no reports of the demolition from neighbours.

Following its discovery by the council Cropper removed the extension.

He pleaded guilty in court to both the unauthorised demolition of a listed building, and the unauthorised extension of a listed building.

Coun Rob Walker, Kirklees Council's Cabinet Member for Environment, said the prosecution sent a message that anyone flouting the law over listed buildings could face court action.

He commented: “The council is often accused of not protecting our heritage.

“But taking action in this instance, despite the time that had passed between the act and its discovery, shows just how seriously we take the protection of listed buildings.

“I hope that this case serves as a warning, that no matter how well you cover your tracks and for how long, your actions will catch up with you and there will be consequences.”

When asked by the media if he wished to comment on the court action, Cropper replied: “Not particularly. But thank you for the opportunity.”