More freedom with unlisted buildings

Buying a listed property could put in place restrictions which reduce the freedom of the homeowner, it has been warned.

Planning expert Paul Courtine tells The Journal of the activities which may be taken for granted in a "normal" house.

But pursuits such as constructing a conservatory might not be permitted in a listed property, he warns.

Indeed, anyone carrying out work without permission could be asked to revert the property to its former state or face a fine or imprisonment.

"When you buy a normal house you can usually do whatever you want to the inside of it," Mr Courtine explains.

"You can often do some works to the outside as well, such as installing a conservatory or getting double glazing."

Anyone purchasing a listed property is advised to consider such limitations, as well as the fact that extra permission is likely to be needed even for work which is allowed to go ahead.

Previous guidance from David McDonald, a member of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation, noted that planning approval is more likely to be given should an existing doorway be used to access a new conservatory.

Building Conservation reports that where this is not possible, Mr McDonald recommends lowering the sill of a window to produce a new door-sized opening.