Freezing Pensioners

Allow pensioners to live at a temperature of above 39F in the winter. Why , If you have lived in a grade 2 listed building all your married life, should you be forced to live in freezing temperatures in your old age ?

I will be 72 years of age in December .For the last 2 years at least, me and my companion, have been forced to sit in one room, when we could not get the temperature above 39 F in spite of spending £60 a week on solid fuel.My rates are £253 a month.

I would be better off living in a shed with a parrafin heater, than trying to live in, and maintain this listed building, which I love, but the powers that be, force me to live in a freezing environment, because it suits them

Why is this idea important?

Allow pensioners to live at a temperature of above 39F in the winter. Why , If you have lived in a grade 2 listed building all your married life, should you be forced to live in freezing temperatures in your old age ?

I will be 72 years of age in December .For the last 2 years at least, me and my companion, have been forced to sit in one room, when we could not get the temperature above 39 F in spite of spending £60 a week on solid fuel.My rates are £253 a month.

I would be better off living in a shed with a parrafin heater, than trying to live in, and maintain this listed building, which I love, but the powers that be, force me to live in a freezing environment, because it suits them

Listed Buildings – Relax Rules

Constraints on listed builings are excessive. Conservation is placed above function, but even that is botched, resulting in a fairytale pastiche of a building as it might have been in some muddled point in the past, but not as if it were a living building. Often the workrounds are worse than what they are supposed to prevent.

Double glazing is not permitted, even sympathetic wood designs, because that did not exist.

Satellite dishes are not permitted – even hidden at the back, nor external TV aerials, no matter how poor the reception.

Front doors must follow the previous design, even if the original builder might have used half a dozen different styles.

An Elizabethan manon wall forming a 6 foot securiy barrier around a royal palace was recently rebuilt as it was falling over. The new wall used authentic lime mortar, at considerable risk of skin burns, but is 4 feet high in places becuase "it looks better". The original was meant to keep people out. But at least the mortar is authentic.

A Grade 1 Carnegie library was repaired and renovated over 15 months. Although using authentic paints, materials, etc, when it re-opened the entire top tier of shelves were empty – 1/5th of the books were missing. Community Noticeboards had been removed from the entrance because "they would not have been on the original tiled surface". So now local clubs and societies are not listed anywhere accessible. If there is a list no-one uses it. The building may look authentic, but its purpose has been forgotten.

Southwark Crown Court is a Grade 1 listed building. It has impressive carved oak doors between the courts. These do not have proper, near signs, saying "Courts 4-7 this way". Instead a sheet of A4 paper is printed out, put in a plastic sleve and blu-tacked to the door. it looks tacky. But it does not permanently alter the structure, unlike a nice ceramic plaque. But if the original builder was updating the building today which would they have done?

Too many restrictive rules are based on technical consistency, but ignore what the original builder would do today if faced with a new requirement, and make owners lives a misery.

Why is this idea important?

Constraints on listed builings are excessive. Conservation is placed above function, but even that is botched, resulting in a fairytale pastiche of a building as it might have been in some muddled point in the past, but not as if it were a living building. Often the workrounds are worse than what they are supposed to prevent.

Double glazing is not permitted, even sympathetic wood designs, because that did not exist.

Satellite dishes are not permitted – even hidden at the back, nor external TV aerials, no matter how poor the reception.

Front doors must follow the previous design, even if the original builder might have used half a dozen different styles.

An Elizabethan manon wall forming a 6 foot securiy barrier around a royal palace was recently rebuilt as it was falling over. The new wall used authentic lime mortar, at considerable risk of skin burns, but is 4 feet high in places becuase "it looks better". The original was meant to keep people out. But at least the mortar is authentic.

A Grade 1 Carnegie library was repaired and renovated over 15 months. Although using authentic paints, materials, etc, when it re-opened the entire top tier of shelves were empty – 1/5th of the books were missing. Community Noticeboards had been removed from the entrance because "they would not have been on the original tiled surface". So now local clubs and societies are not listed anywhere accessible. If there is a list no-one uses it. The building may look authentic, but its purpose has been forgotten.

Southwark Crown Court is a Grade 1 listed building. It has impressive carved oak doors between the courts. These do not have proper, near signs, saying "Courts 4-7 this way". Instead a sheet of A4 paper is printed out, put in a plastic sleve and blu-tacked to the door. it looks tacky. But it does not permanently alter the structure, unlike a nice ceramic plaque. But if the original builder was updating the building today which would they have done?

Too many restrictive rules are based on technical consistency, but ignore what the original builder would do today if faced with a new requirement, and make owners lives a misery.

Cancel listed buildings restrictions on residential buildings

At the moment there are a lot of restrictions as to what the owner of a listed building can do to their property.

 

An Englishman's (or a Scotsman…) home is his castle and owners of listed buildings should be just as entitled as any house owner to make modifications to their house.

 

If the house is primarily used as a dwelling then it should have no more restrictions on it than a 'normal' house.

Why is this idea important?

At the moment there are a lot of restrictions as to what the owner of a listed building can do to their property.

 

An Englishman's (or a Scotsman…) home is his castle and owners of listed buildings should be just as entitled as any house owner to make modifications to their house.

 

If the house is primarily used as a dwelling then it should have no more restrictions on it than a 'normal' house.

restriction of powers relating to listed buildings

There is a general consensus that listed buildings should be preserved but buildings are listed for a variety of reasons..

Local councils are not focussing on why a building has been listed and the law (as I understand it) supports this.

My building for example is on a corner. One aspect is part of a block listing and it is right that particular care should be taken to preserve this but most of my building faces an ordinary street which is part of a conservation area. However to replace quite ordinary post war metal windows on the part of my building that would otherwise not be listed I need to apply for listed buildings consent.

Amazingly, at a time when economic activity needs to be encouraged my council advises that it will take eight weeks to grant a consent that in the private sector would take perhaps seven days so why not farm this work out to firms of architects or schools of architecture but preferably both and cut town hall employment. This system already operates in other parts of Europe.

In addition I  suggest that any  repairs or alterations that need consent should take into account  why the  building was listed otherwise  councils (if this work is not outsourced) are likely to abuse their powers. 

Why is this idea important?

There is a general consensus that listed buildings should be preserved but buildings are listed for a variety of reasons..

Local councils are not focussing on why a building has been listed and the law (as I understand it) supports this.

My building for example is on a corner. One aspect is part of a block listing and it is right that particular care should be taken to preserve this but most of my building faces an ordinary street which is part of a conservation area. However to replace quite ordinary post war metal windows on the part of my building that would otherwise not be listed I need to apply for listed buildings consent.

Amazingly, at a time when economic activity needs to be encouraged my council advises that it will take eight weeks to grant a consent that in the private sector would take perhaps seven days so why not farm this work out to firms of architects or schools of architecture but preferably both and cut town hall employment. This system already operates in other parts of Europe.

In addition I  suggest that any  repairs or alterations that need consent should take into account  why the  building was listed otherwise  councils (if this work is not outsourced) are likely to abuse their powers. 

Extend VAT relief to the repair and maintenance of listed buildings

Owners of listed buildings are currently entitled to VAT relief on any expenditure that relates to material alterations to their properties – but anything they spend on maintenance, or on replacement of like with like, is still subject to VAT.  

I propose that the VAT relief should be extended to maintenance costs.

Why is this idea important?

Owners of listed buildings are currently entitled to VAT relief on any expenditure that relates to material alterations to their properties – but anything they spend on maintenance, or on replacement of like with like, is still subject to VAT.  

I propose that the VAT relief should be extended to maintenance costs.

Removing some of the conservation regulations

Regulations concerning listed buildings and heritage require owners to purchase specilised materials which often means that they cannot install modern heating or glazing.

In some cases councils are forced to keep old ruins well beyond repair. Surely there should be some way of judging these cases on merits and not just one rule obliging eyesores to remain unkempt and unused.

Why is this idea important?

Regulations concerning listed buildings and heritage require owners to purchase specilised materials which often means that they cannot install modern heating or glazing.

In some cases councils are forced to keep old ruins well beyond repair. Surely there should be some way of judging these cases on merits and not just one rule obliging eyesores to remain unkempt and unused.

Charge for Listed Building etc applications

Planning applications and some other related applications incur a fee, which is set nationally. But a whole range of other applications do not incur a fee and processing such applications have to be met from Councils' budgets which come from Council tax, income tax, business rates etc. There should be full cost recovery of dealing with all such applications and indeed pre-application and post-application discussions. Councils should accordingly be able to set their own fees to ensure all costs are fully recovered from those submitting all such applications.

Why is this idea important?

Planning applications and some other related applications incur a fee, which is set nationally. But a whole range of other applications do not incur a fee and processing such applications have to be met from Councils' budgets which come from Council tax, income tax, business rates etc. There should be full cost recovery of dealing with all such applications and indeed pre-application and post-application discussions. Councils should accordingly be able to set their own fees to ensure all costs are fully recovered from those submitting all such applications.

Remove requirement to have newspaper advert for listed building consent

For any listed building application a notice has to be placed in a local newspaper. This costs the taxpayer a lot of money (councils have to pay for it), not many people read the public notices, newspapers charge exorbitantly for public notices, and in many cases there is no obvious local newspaper of record, and many local and regional papers are in financial trouble in this electronic age. Notification to amenity societies should suffice, or have notices on council websites or through Planning Portal. (Any parallel requirement under ecclesisastical exemption should also be scrapped; indeed the 1997 Newman Report on the exemption observed that "“In view of the substantial cost of newspaper advertisements and the minimal public response, the Department and the Welsh Office should review the requirement to advertise proposals in this way”.)

Why is this idea important?

For any listed building application a notice has to be placed in a local newspaper. This costs the taxpayer a lot of money (councils have to pay for it), not many people read the public notices, newspapers charge exorbitantly for public notices, and in many cases there is no obvious local newspaper of record, and many local and regional papers are in financial trouble in this electronic age. Notification to amenity societies should suffice, or have notices on council websites or through Planning Portal. (Any parallel requirement under ecclesisastical exemption should also be scrapped; indeed the 1997 Newman Report on the exemption observed that "“In view of the substantial cost of newspaper advertisements and the minimal public response, the Department and the Welsh Office should review the requirement to advertise proposals in this way”.)

Remove listed orders for private owned homes

Our house and next doors has the front facing bay window listed.The road we live on has approx 70%-80% block flats on it.Our house and next doors is in 1/2 of an acre.We cannot sell to developers because of this listing.I personally see no point to it as it is of no use to the public interest.The government should look at all old listed building order's and restrict them to places of interest to the public. Putting a listing on the front of a house makes no sense at all especially if the majority of buildings on the same road are all blocks of flats.We have a coach house which had a restriction for it not to be removed. When the Birmingham city council rented  one of their properties with the coachouse that was in need of repair they scrapped the listing just so that they could pull down their coachouse as re-building it would have cost alot,this was 2 doors away from us. They do what they want when they want.  

Why is this idea important?

Our house and next doors has the front facing bay window listed.The road we live on has approx 70%-80% block flats on it.Our house and next doors is in 1/2 of an acre.We cannot sell to developers because of this listing.I personally see no point to it as it is of no use to the public interest.The government should look at all old listed building order's and restrict them to places of interest to the public. Putting a listing on the front of a house makes no sense at all especially if the majority of buildings on the same road are all blocks of flats.We have a coach house which had a restriction for it not to be removed. When the Birmingham city council rented  one of their properties with the coachouse that was in need of repair they scrapped the listing just so that they could pull down their coachouse as re-building it would have cost alot,this was 2 doors away from us. They do what they want when they want.  

Listed building planning laws

Owners of listed buildings are subject to some laws which are anomalous and quite unnecessary.  Planning consent should not be required over and above those for non-listed household for “temporary”  buildings such as sheds, sectional greenhouses, fruitages, summerhouses and fences which are not attached to the property.

 

Furthermore listed building owners should be allowed to use double glazed units if these do not interfere with the overall appearance of the house and can be fitted within the appropriate window frames. 

Why is this idea important?

Owners of listed buildings are subject to some laws which are anomalous and quite unnecessary.  Planning consent should not be required over and above those for non-listed household for “temporary”  buildings such as sheds, sectional greenhouses, fruitages, summerhouses and fences which are not attached to the property.

 

Furthermore listed building owners should be allowed to use double glazed units if these do not interfere with the overall appearance of the house and can be fitted within the appropriate window frames. 

Grade II listed buildings to be re-graded as ‘Grade III’

All Grade II listed buildings to be downgraded to a new category – say Grade III – where the only additional control compared to non-listed properties is that consent is required for changes to the fabric or appearance of Elevations visible to the general public.
An onus would then be upon planning authorities or other interested parties to apply for the upgrading of particular especially meritorious Grade III listed properties or terraces of such properties to Grade II.

Why is this idea important?

All Grade II listed buildings to be downgraded to a new category – say Grade III – where the only additional control compared to non-listed properties is that consent is required for changes to the fabric or appearance of Elevations visible to the general public.
An onus would then be upon planning authorities or other interested parties to apply for the upgrading of particular especially meritorious Grade III listed properties or terraces of such properties to Grade II.

Listed Building Consent

Repeal – Listed Building consent by rescinding the catorgory Grade II Listed. Replace with just Grade I and making the penalties except intentional destruction a civil matter and not presently criminal.

Why is this idea important?

Repeal – Listed Building consent by rescinding the catorgory Grade II Listed. Replace with just Grade I and making the penalties except intentional destruction a civil matter and not presently criminal.

Limit Listed Building regulation to public features listed

It is reasonable that publicly accessible or viewable elevations of Listed buildings should be protected by Listed Building regulation in addition to general Planning regulation.  It is also reasonable that alterations to all buildings are subject to Building Regulations.

However, many planning departments seem to 'make work' by insisting upon their additional 'Listed Building' regulation of alterations to the private interiors of private homes on the basis that a given property had been 'Listed' after cursory  visual inspection of the exterior only in the 1970's.

This can lead to oppressive conduct by Planning officials, including threatening language and invasion of privacy, and the arbitrary refusal of consent for reasonable alterations, such as, for example, the replacement of a poor quality – even dangerous – staircase with new high quality staircase.  Such oppressive conduct seems mostly to be directed at private individuals, not substantial companies.

Listed Building regulations for private homes should be limited to those features of such properties that were itemised in the original Listing.

Why is this idea important?

It is reasonable that publicly accessible or viewable elevations of Listed buildings should be protected by Listed Building regulation in addition to general Planning regulation.  It is also reasonable that alterations to all buildings are subject to Building Regulations.

However, many planning departments seem to 'make work' by insisting upon their additional 'Listed Building' regulation of alterations to the private interiors of private homes on the basis that a given property had been 'Listed' after cursory  visual inspection of the exterior only in the 1970's.

This can lead to oppressive conduct by Planning officials, including threatening language and invasion of privacy, and the arbitrary refusal of consent for reasonable alterations, such as, for example, the replacement of a poor quality – even dangerous – staircase with new high quality staircase.  Such oppressive conduct seems mostly to be directed at private individuals, not substantial companies.

Listed Building regulations for private homes should be limited to those features of such properties that were itemised in the original Listing.

Allow Grade II listed properties to have slim double glazing

Allow Grade II listed properties should be allowed to have slim double glazing.  There are around 350,0000 grade II listed properties in England.   Double glazing allows buildings to be much more energy efficient, and are one of the most cost effective energy saving inverstments and homeowner can make.  Conservation officers in local authorities are completely against allowing double glazing in Grade II listed properties.  I would completely agree with them 15 years ago when double glazing was air filled wide with large visabel seals around the glazing.  Glazing manufacturers now have denser gases allowing building regulation comlpient windows to be much slimer and the methods of construction mean the main glazing seal is hidden within the frame.  There will however be some instances where adding double glazied wood or metal windows will not be allowed as fitting heavier windows would destroy the "fabric of he building", but in most cases this would be an easy change to make. All this change requires is the goverment telling council conservation officers that slim well designed double glazing (not-uPVC) is allowed.

Why is this idea important?

Allow Grade II listed properties should be allowed to have slim double glazing.  There are around 350,0000 grade II listed properties in England.   Double glazing allows buildings to be much more energy efficient, and are one of the most cost effective energy saving inverstments and homeowner can make.  Conservation officers in local authorities are completely against allowing double glazing in Grade II listed properties.  I would completely agree with them 15 years ago when double glazing was air filled wide with large visabel seals around the glazing.  Glazing manufacturers now have denser gases allowing building regulation comlpient windows to be much slimer and the methods of construction mean the main glazing seal is hidden within the frame.  There will however be some instances where adding double glazied wood or metal windows will not be allowed as fitting heavier windows would destroy the "fabric of he building", but in most cases this would be an easy change to make. All this change requires is the goverment telling council conservation officers that slim well designed double glazing (not-uPVC) is allowed.

Listed Buildings Act – make “de-listing” easier

This Act was designed to preserve our (architectural) heritage and within limits I am in favour of that.  However, it allows for a building to be listed on arbitrary grounds by people who have no responsibility for maintaining it, and against which it is extremely difficult to appeal.  This needs to change.  The onus should be on those who list a building (government/local authorities/heritage groups or whatever) to provide the funds to maintain it in the condition required by the grading.  Since that's not going to happen in most cases, it should then be possible for those responsible for the building to alter or demolish it as they see fit.  If the community objects, let the community put up the money to preserve it. 

Why is this idea important?

This Act was designed to preserve our (architectural) heritage and within limits I am in favour of that.  However, it allows for a building to be listed on arbitrary grounds by people who have no responsibility for maintaining it, and against which it is extremely difficult to appeal.  This needs to change.  The onus should be on those who list a building (government/local authorities/heritage groups or whatever) to provide the funds to maintain it in the condition required by the grading.  Since that's not going to happen in most cases, it should then be possible for those responsible for the building to alter or demolish it as they see fit.  If the community objects, let the community put up the money to preserve it. 

Reduction of powers for listed building officers

Just over a year ago my wife and I purchased a relatively ordinary house in a Northamptonshire village which happened to be Grade 2 listed. Before we purchased the house we were not provided with any official guidence pointing out the constraints this would put us under and the responsibilities it would impose upon us. This in itself is wrong and should be made clear to all prospective buyers of Grade 2 listed properties.

Nevertheless, this is not in  itself my idea as that would be adding to rather taking away regulations.  What I am wanting to say is that, currently,  if you were to make even some quite minor alteration to your Grade 2 listed property without permission then you are commitinig not just a civil offence but a criminal offence. This is utterly outrageous and needs without delay to be changed. It is intolerable in a free, democratic society that making some minor unapproved change to your own proprtey can make you a criminal.  Furthermore, as if that were not enough, the unelected listed buildings officers, who are  very subjective in their assertions, seem to act and believe as if  they have a divine right to bully people in their own homes.

Why is this idea important?

Just over a year ago my wife and I purchased a relatively ordinary house in a Northamptonshire village which happened to be Grade 2 listed. Before we purchased the house we were not provided with any official guidence pointing out the constraints this would put us under and the responsibilities it would impose upon us. This in itself is wrong and should be made clear to all prospective buyers of Grade 2 listed properties.

Nevertheless, this is not in  itself my idea as that would be adding to rather taking away regulations.  What I am wanting to say is that, currently,  if you were to make even some quite minor alteration to your Grade 2 listed property without permission then you are commitinig not just a civil offence but a criminal offence. This is utterly outrageous and needs without delay to be changed. It is intolerable in a free, democratic society that making some minor unapproved change to your own proprtey can make you a criminal.  Furthermore, as if that were not enough, the unelected listed buildings officers, who are  very subjective in their assertions, seem to act and believe as if  they have a divine right to bully people in their own homes.

Reform listed building regulations

It is almost impossible to make an alteration to a listed building without committing an offence of some description. For example, if you have to replace a window in an old building, the building regulations will require you to use double glazed glass panels to enhance energy efficiency. Conservation however will insist on single glazed panels to retain historical relevance. 

Ignoring either building control or the conservation department is an offence, yet you cannot replace the window without ignoring one of them, hence committing an offence. 

We've almost got used to this, but perhaps the law should be clearer, and hand more of theresponsibility for that choice to the homeowner. 

Why is this idea important?

It is almost impossible to make an alteration to a listed building without committing an offence of some description. For example, if you have to replace a window in an old building, the building regulations will require you to use double glazed glass panels to enhance energy efficiency. Conservation however will insist on single glazed panels to retain historical relevance. 

Ignoring either building control or the conservation department is an offence, yet you cannot replace the window without ignoring one of them, hence committing an offence. 

We've almost got used to this, but perhaps the law should be clearer, and hand more of theresponsibility for that choice to the homeowner. 

Remove restrictions on Listed Buildings

Too many houses have been include on the Listed Building register because Local Authorities were told they would get money to provide grants. This is now not the case (in fact it only realistically lasted a few years from 1974). However, the restrictions on a vast swathe of domestic houses are preventing sustainable development. Remove all lower grade residental buildings from to Listed Building register – retain Planning Permission/Development Control requirements but stop the hamstringing of people who want to sensitively develop there house to accommodate changing needs and community resources simply becasie the building was listed for often spurious reasons.

This will also allow Local authorities to save more money in Conservation officers, planning personnel time and expense in general admin and in defending the many appeals etc.

Why is this idea important?

Too many houses have been include on the Listed Building register because Local Authorities were told they would get money to provide grants. This is now not the case (in fact it only realistically lasted a few years from 1974). However, the restrictions on a vast swathe of domestic houses are preventing sustainable development. Remove all lower grade residental buildings from to Listed Building register – retain Planning Permission/Development Control requirements but stop the hamstringing of people who want to sensitively develop there house to accommodate changing needs and community resources simply becasie the building was listed for often spurious reasons.

This will also allow Local authorities to save more money in Conservation officers, planning personnel time and expense in general admin and in defending the many appeals etc.

Make energy efficiency targets apply to listed buildings

The property owner has a greater duty to fulfil his or her environmental duties than to protect the historic nature of the building.

This includes the right of the property owner to any reasonable measures to improve on the current Energy Performance Certificate of a Grade II listed building.

Why is this idea important?

The property owner has a greater duty to fulfil his or her environmental duties than to protect the historic nature of the building.

This includes the right of the property owner to any reasonable measures to improve on the current Energy Performance Certificate of a Grade II listed building.

Reduce Listed Building Burocracy

The regulations that restrict what a house-owner can do to his own home are too tight and too many. They make owning a listed building too expensive in the costs merely to obtain permission to do something to the building. The restrictions are especially irksome when the property has been listed after purchase.

The rules governing the act of listing are too simple. Often, the listing is a mere description of the building and does not state why the building has been listed ,other than 'Of historical or architectural interest'. Listing should be much harder for an authority to effect.

Why is this idea important?

The regulations that restrict what a house-owner can do to his own home are too tight and too many. They make owning a listed building too expensive in the costs merely to obtain permission to do something to the building. The restrictions are especially irksome when the property has been listed after purchase.

The rules governing the act of listing are too simple. Often, the listing is a mere description of the building and does not state why the building has been listed ,other than 'Of historical or architectural interest'. Listing should be much harder for an authority to effect.

Listed Building as your residence.

By law all repairs to a Listed Building have to be carried out in the appropriate traditional manner.  This is almost inevitably many times more expensive than using modern methods and materials.  By law I have to pay very high bills which can be unaffordable for many people – PLUS – I then have to pay VAT on top of a highly inflated repair bill because I have had to use the most expensive traditional methods.

It is unjust.  It is hard enough to have to pay say three times modern costs without having to pay three times the VAT as well.

There are many pensioners who live in houses which are Listed – mine is Grade II Listed.  The country should be grateful for home-owners preserving these buildings, they are our heritage.  It is unjust to penalise them with extra heavy VAT.  No VAT on Listed Building repairs!

Why is this idea important?

By law all repairs to a Listed Building have to be carried out in the appropriate traditional manner.  This is almost inevitably many times more expensive than using modern methods and materials.  By law I have to pay very high bills which can be unaffordable for many people – PLUS – I then have to pay VAT on top of a highly inflated repair bill because I have had to use the most expensive traditional methods.

It is unjust.  It is hard enough to have to pay say three times modern costs without having to pay three times the VAT as well.

There are many pensioners who live in houses which are Listed – mine is Grade II Listed.  The country should be grateful for home-owners preserving these buildings, they are our heritage.  It is unjust to penalise them with extra heavy VAT.  No VAT on Listed Building repairs!