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Thread: Old Church - Grade 2 listed

  1. #1
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    Old Church - Grade 2 listed

    Hi,

    Iíve run a search on TZ about owing a Grade 2 listed building and I know there are some good bits of advice. I thought I would ask again on the off chance more is offered.

    My wife and I have had an offer accepted on a church. It is converted but needs finishing. Just going thru some due diligence and thought it was worth asking in case I missed anything. To be clear we are not looking to haggle money off or change our mind, just thought Iíd ask so I donít miss anything.

    The following has been considered (not exclusively but some of the bigger ticket items off the top of my head):

    Correct planning permission and work complete uses correct materials. Purchasers would have liability to return to normal under S38 planning Act if enforced.

    Structual engineer is visiting to ensure the structure is sound.

    Stone mason is quoting for repair for all stone work. Windows etc.

    Grave yard has been moved but Right of way has been considered.

    I understand all changes to the building will need consent. This may be frustrating but we donít want to change anything (right now).

    Insulating the church will be tricky and costly (especially with the price of oil right now!).


    The church is lovely, in an amazing village and everything we want. That said, we want to be sensible and ensure we have considered everything.

    Thanks for any advice.







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  2. #2
    Youíll need deep pockets, a lot of patience and a good relationship with your local authority conservation officer. The best decision my wife and I made was not to buy the listed building weíd fallen in love with.

    Quote Originally Posted by cnjm1 View Post
    Hi,

    Iíve run a search on TZ about owing a Grade 2 listed building and I know there are some good bits of advice. I thought I would ask again on the off chance more is offered.

    My wife and I have had an offer accepted on a church. It is converted but needs finishing. Just going thru some due diligence and thought it was worth asking in case I missed anything. To be clear we are not looking to haggle money off or change our mind, just thought Iíd ask so I donít miss anything.

    The following has been considered (not exclusively but some of the bigger ticket items off the top of my head):

    Correct planning permission and work complete uses correct materials. Purchasers would have liability to return to normal under S38 planning Act if enforced.

    Structual engineer is visiting to ensure the structure is sound.

    Stone mason is quoting for repair for all stone work. Windows etc.

    Grave yard has been moved but Right of way has been considered.

    I understand all changes to the building will need consent. This may be frustrating but we donít want to change anything (right now).

    Insulating the church will be tricky and costly (especially with the price of oil right now!).


    The church is lovely, in an amazing village and everything we want. That said, we want to be sensible and ensure we have considered everything.

    Thanks for any advice.







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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by junglebert View Post
    Youíll need deep pockets, a lot of patience and a good relationship with your local authority conservation officer. The best decision my wife and I made was not to buy the listed building weíd fallen in love with.
    Thank you.

    Why do you say deep pockets? We know we are going to have to put a good amount in to finish renovation. But if the Structual engineer and stone mason donít identify any massive items then what costs will need constantly plugging? Not being defensive , just honestly trying to understand.

    What made you glad you didnít buy yours? Thanks again.


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  4. #4
    Running a big old house is expensive, running a big old house where you have to use specific (read the most expensive!) paint, windows, doors, gutters, down pipes, etc etc can be crippling. Add to that the fact that a lot of builders wonít work on them, so you need to go to a specialist, it all adds up.

    I first got an inkling of the bother involved when I mentioned to the conservation officer (who I started speaking to as soon as we decided we wanted the house) that the first thing if need to do would be fence the garden ti keep the dog in, he said Ďyes, fine, youíll need to apply for consent, show us plans, and tell us what materials youíll use, but unless you do it exactly how we want, itíll get refusedí all that for a post and rail fence round the garden!

    Quote Originally Posted by cnjm1 View Post
    Thank you.

    Why do you say deep pockets? We know we are going to have to put a good amount in to finish renovation. But if the Structual engineer and stone mason donít identify any massive items then what costs will need constantly plugging? Not being defensive , just honestly trying to understand.

    What made you glad you didnít buy yours? Thanks again.


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  5. #5
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    I suppose it depends on the definition of Ďfinishingí

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by junglebert View Post
    Running a big old house is expensive, running a big old house where you have to use specific (read the most expensive!) paint, windows, doors, gutters, down pipes, etc etc can be crippling. Add to that the fact that a lot of builders wonít work on them, so you need to go to a specialist, it all adds up.

    I first got an inkling of the bother involved when I mentioned to the conservation officer (who I started speaking to as soon as we decided we wanted the house) that the first thing if need to do would be fence the garden ti keep the dog in, he said Ďyes, fine, youíll need to apply for consent, show us plans, and tell us what materials youíll use, but unless you do it exactly how we want, itíll get refusedí all that for a post and rail fence round the garden!
    I understand.

    Iíve priced in doors, stone mason is coming to assess windows and not a massive amount to guttering which Iíve considered.

    I agree, stuff is a bother that may not be in a normal house but tbh with a fence you can always just put it up; if you get enforced return it normal at a cost that wonít break you. The issue is replacing windows then finding each one you replaced is 20k to put right. Thatís where you can get into hot water.

    Appreciate your comments. We have factored in the extra up keep cost (within sensible bounds, of course) if something major goes wrong we are in trouble but hopefully the Structual engineer will be able to spot that risk.


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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by lewie View Post
    I suppose it depends on the definition of Ďfinishingí
    Most of the work is done. It will need some stud walls, plastering. Windows repaired (stone mason looking at these) Bathrooms finishing. Electrics sorting and heating. I think 2-300k would more than cover all this being pessimistic.

    The big job is underfloor heating (if it can be done), which Iím assuming would be a big job that may have to wait.






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  8. #8
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    Sorry , reminds me of this .
    Kudos to you though, it sounds really interesting.


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  9. #9
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    Haha yep, thatís the worry. Doing everything I can to avoid walking into this!


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  10. #10
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    Old Church - Grade 2 listed

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    Last edited by cnjm1; 12th June 2022 at 17:36.

  11. #11
    Having renovated non res into res i would ask - can you do some stuff yourself, understand plans, building techniques etc? OK i'm not a stonemason but i have learnt to repoint and do brick repairs. Do you have skills that can keep some of the costs down, if not work out the costs and add 50%+. I worked on a Georgian pub and the previous renovation was dreadful, i ripped most of it out myself and with a builder we carved up the jobs between us. Be prepared for the worst case - financially and construction wise. Its lots of fun though and very rewarding especially when learning new skills - sounds great, i'd do another one, especially a chapel/church in a heart beat.

    Edit: Love the building, beautiful - looks like its had some good work done already...
    Last edited by vulcangascompany; 10th June 2022 at 19:40.

  12. #12
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    Thank you, reassuring! I have renovated an old cottage (not listed but same age)and know some of the problems it can be. But each time I did some research and overcame the issue. I enjoy that aspect.

    I canít wait to convert the tower, has views out to sea in the distance.


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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by cnjm1 View Post



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    Canít offer any advice, but have to say that is right up my street. Will be a beautiful place to live. I can certainly see the charm and would be equally seduced.

    The very best of luck.

  14. #14
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    Is there a resident ghost?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by FazerBoy View Post
    Is there a resident ghost?
    If there is, probably best not to mention it. You can guarantee there will be a stealth tax applicable somewhere.

  16. #16
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    There would be a cost associated , then double and add a zero as it as it was listed .


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  17. #17
    Prepare yourself to be versed in the dark arts of lime mortar, you'll be doing it alot!

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by vulcangascompany View Post
    Prepare yourself to be versed in the dark arts of lime mortar, you'll be doing it alot!
    Forgive my ignorance . When you say youíll be doing a lot why is that? If the building is fairly sound what will I need to keep repairing.


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  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by cnjm1 View Post
    Forgive my ignorance . When you say you’ll be doing a lot why is that? If the building is fairly sound what will I need to keep repairing.


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    Repointing, walls etc. You may not be able to use cement on the exterior.

  20. #20
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    Yeah, it will have to be lime. I had to use line on my cottage, it needs protecting a against the elements when setting!


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  21. #21
    That looks a lovely place to live in, when was it built ?

    I know nothing about these things so just a couple of questions that popped to mind, has it was a church with a grave yard are you allowed to dig in the garden ? did they build foundations under the walls in those days ? has it got a cellar ?

  22. #22
    Be great if you could document what you do if this goes ahead on this thread, i'm sure lots here would be interested! Good luck..

  23. #23
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    I will document it and keep everyone posted.

    The grave yard has been moved. You can dig but think if you find a body you are not allowed to touch it and have to put it right (Maybe wrong). But the good thing here is graves have all been moved to a new site and we are not looking to extend. So we have no reason to dig.

    The foundations are being investigated on Monday. I do not know of a cellar !!


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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by cnjm1 View Post
    Yeah, it will have to be lime. I had to use line on my cottage, it needs protecting a against the elements when setting!


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    Sorry built 1830s , newer than our non listed cottage in north Devon.


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  25. #25
    Looks amazing. It will make a fabulous home.

    We live in a 1752 manor house which is grade 2 as well. Something like that suits some people, and not the others. I have friends who question why I would want to live in a "museum", but that is a huge part of the appeal. I am very happy with the listed status as our house would've been turned into flats by the previous owners otherwise and had all of the features removed. Sure, it's more expensive, but it's like saying that running a classic car is more expensive than a modern one. It is if you think of it purely from a practical point of view, but it offers, in my view, so much more.

    There really isn't anything huge to consider that you haven't already aside from making sure there haven't been alterations made without permission which you will become liable for. In our case the previous owner changed two windows without permission, but submitted planning application after the fact which luckily was approved after we moved in (we were prepared to deal with it either way as we loved the house). There are still things which were done such as some plastic guttering which we want to return to period correct, removing some cement pointing, etc.. We've had no issues with the conservation officers at all, but we also are very happy with the history of the house, so have no desire to alter it.

    Anyhow, I find it very exciting and life's too short not to go after things which bring joy.

  26. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by cnjm1 View Post
    Forgive my ignorance . When you say youíll be doing a lot why is that? If the building is fairly sound what will I need to keep repairing.


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    I think questions like this might be a sign your eyes arenít quite as wide open as they need to be about the reality of the project!

  27. #27
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    I think the fact I started the thread shows Iím no expert.

    Iíve had to lime render pointing before. I just questioned why I would be constantly doing it, which Iím still not sure why I would be constantly be doing it (hence asking). Our cottage is exposed and did the lime pointing 5 years ago, itís still good as the day we did it.


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  28. #28
    Quote Originally Posted by cnjm1 View Post
    I think the fact I started the thread shows Iím no expert.

    Iíve had to lime render pointing before. I just questioned why I would be constantly doing it, which Iím still not sure why I would be constantly be doing it (hence asking). Our cottage is exposed and did the lime pointing 5 years ago, itís still good as the day we did it.
    You will not be constantly doing it! Your church will be still standing after most of the modern houses are long gone. I honestly can't think of anything specifically more difficult about our listed house than our previous 1990's one. Tradesmen are just as difficult to pin down, decorators just as flaky, etc.

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by adigra View Post
    You will not be constantly doing it! Your church will be still standing after most of the modern houses are long gone. I honestly can't think of anything specifically more difficult about our listed house than our previous 1990's one. Tradesmen are just as difficult to pin down, decorators just as flaky, etc.
    Thanks for the reply, It is reassuring.

    Iím sure at times I will be cursing at having to replace a window at 15k,but I have considered this as part of the overall cost of living in this type of house.


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  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by adigra View Post
    You will not be constantly doing it! Your church will be still standing after most of the modern houses are long gone. I honestly can't think of anything specifically more difficult about our listed house than our previous 1990's one. Tradesmen are just as difficult to pin down, decorators just as flaky, etc.
    Agreed, and I doubt that church has been repointed for a long time and is probably just fine.

    Re listed status, we live in an approx 16th/17th cottage which miraculously isn't listed. I had a chap come to give us a quote for some work who basically lives in a similar property that is listed and he said it's a real pain e.g. it needed a new front door and it took 9 months to get approval. Probably depends on where you live of course.

    Personally, I think the rules are archaic to some degree, sure you don't want them to be butchered but in this day and age people need to be able to make them viable given energy costs etc. Otherwise they will become unsellable and fall into disrepair.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by SimonH View Post
    Agreed, and I doubt that church has been repointed for a long time and is probably just fine.

    Re listed status, we live in an approx 16th/17th cottage which miraculously isn't listed. I had a chap come to give us a quote for some work who basically lives in a similar property that is listed and he said it's a real pain e.g. it needed a new front door and it took 9 months to get approval. Probably depends on where you live of course.

    Personally, I think the rules are archaic to some degree, sure you don't want them to be butchered but in this day and age people need to be able to make them viable given energy costs etc. Otherwise they will become unsellable and fall into disrepair.
    I couldnít agree more. Iíve spoken with the conservation officer and am scheduled to have an on site appointment (itís £480 but worth the expense). I want to be sure they will allow me to do the minimum to make it liveable. Iím not looking to change character , I love it; however, it must be a home and have some comforts. In addition, I must be able to improve its EPC.

    Section 39 of the planning (listed building) Act 1990 allows you to make alterations without consent if;

    Ď[u]rgently necessary in the interests of safety or health or for the preservation of the building, that it was not practicable to secure safety or health or, as the case may be, the preservation of the building by works of repair or works for affording temporary support or shelter, and that the works carried out were limited to the minimum measures immediately necessaryí

    Iím sure you can claim changing a front door falls under this exemption.



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  32. #32
    Master murkeywaters's Avatar
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    Whats the plumbing and services like leading to the property?
    Waste/sewer pipes on old properties can be a real pain as they often crack, collapse, let in tree roots etc and I cant imagine you can just dig up and replace with plastic on a listed property.

    Look really interesting, I have seen many lovely churches at auction but always bottled bidding on one..

  33. #33
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    Had a quote to bring the septic tank up to standard. The others services are good. I donít think the local authority are concerned with repairs that do not affect character of the building.

    I personally wouldnít be buying a unconverted or church in ruins. Iím sure some are able to take on a project that size, but, Iím trying to limit the risk and unknowns as this is mostly finished.


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  34. #34
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    It would be very easy to say run a mileÖ

    But, Iíve actually renovated (top to bottom) and extended a grade 2 listed building

    We had some exchanges with the local planning officer, who could be a little difficult, but equally was willing to listen and compromise on some pointsÖ. In the end we brought a crumbling building from 1792 back to life and it gave me a great feeling satisfaction when doneÖ. I did it (was much younger) on a total shoe stringÖ

    If you always followed common sense advice in life things would be rather dullÖ

    Go for it! And please post pictures!

  35. #35
    Looks stunning. Most of the work you saids been done and needs finishing . Youíve got a good budget to do it.

    Theyíll be frustrations and stress along the way but boy would it be worth it to live in a place like that!

  36. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by cnjm1 View Post



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    That will be worth every penny just to be able sit on top of that tower.

  37. #37
    Master draftsmann's Avatar
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    I love old buildings and unusual homes and have carried out several full refurbs over the last 30 years. I have to admit though that the restrictions on listed buildings would put me off taking one on.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by cnjm1 View Post



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    That's beautiful.

    I hope it all works out OK for you.
    Cheers,
    Neil.

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    http://www.freewebs.com/neil271052

  39. #39
    Master Rod's Avatar
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    We stayed here for a week recently. Thought it might inspire some ideas. The hosts said they found it very difficult to get past planning permission.
    Done to a very high standard and much of the original interior is original.
    Main bedroom was next to the alter! Wonderful stay there.
    https://www.st-aidansnorthyorkmoors.co.uk/

  40. #40
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    Wow that looks amazing, did they covert it. Luckily planning was granted in 1974 and I suspect a bit easier to get than now. We donít need to make any changes to the building or interior, just finish whatís been granted.


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  41. #41
    Master earlofsodbury's Avatar
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    I'll probably duplicate what's already been said, but here goes anyway -

    We bought a large but neglected G2 farmhouse 7 years ago in rural south Lincs - in all that time building projects it have been like wading through tepid bitumen - and all we wanted to do was repair and restore what was there and change nothing.

    It has proven near-impossible to find a builder anywhere near us willing to commit to a large and time-consuming project. There is way more work available than there are people willing to do it, and most builders prefer to p*ss-about with multiple small jobs that don't tie them-down for too long. The most honest ones I've talked to happily confirm this. You may get luckier, depending on location, I hope you do.

    Our local planning office is quite spectacularly poor - very hard to talk to a living human being, very slow to reply to comms of any kind, and when they do, they offer little or no useful advice. For the first 5 years they had no listed-buildings specialist at-all and so simply said "no" to absolutely everything - or ignored us stolidly. We ended-up having to undertake emergency remedial work to the major outbuilding (also listed), and now have a tortuous job of obtaining retrospective planning for the work undertaken - which at least we undertook like-for-like where we could (e.g. I travelled 5 counties buying Georgian bricks of the right size and colour by the single pallet-load!).

    This is a profoundly abbreviated version of the grief these buildings have caused us, but given you are committed to buy the church, it seems too late for this to be much use to you! The church looks lovely, FWIW, and should have greater structural integrity than a rambling Fenland brick farmhouse that had an extra story thrown on top of it 100 years after the first two were erected!

    Good luck!

  42. #42
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    It looks amazing, good luck to you.

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by earlofsodbury View Post
    I'll probably duplicate what's already been said, but here goes anyway -

    We bought a large but neglected G2 farmhouse 7 years ago in rural south Lincs - in all that time building projects it have been like wading through tepid bitumen - and all we wanted to do was repair and restore what was there and change nothing.

    It has proven near-impossible to find a builder anywhere near us willing to commit to a large and time-consuming project. There is way more work available than there are people willing to do it, and most builders prefer to p*ss-about with multiple small jobs that don't tie them-down for too long. The most honest ones I've talked to happily confirm this. You may get luckier, depending on location, I hope you do.

    Our local planning office is quite spectacularly poor - very hard to talk to a living human being, very slow to reply to comms of any kind, and when they do, they offer little or no useful advice. For the first 5 years they had no listed-buildings specialist at-all and so simply said "no" to absolutely everything - or ignored us stolidly. We ended-up having to undertake emergency remedial work to the major outbuilding (also listed), and now have a tortuous job of obtaining retrospective planning for the work undertaken - which at least we undertook like-for-like where we could (e.g. I travelled 5 counties buying Georgian bricks of the right size and colour by the single pallet-load!).

    This is a profoundly abbreviated version of the grief these buildings have caused us, but given you are committed to buy the church, it seems too late for this to be much use to you! The church looks lovely, FWIW, and should have greater structural integrity than a rambling Fenland brick farmhouse that had an extra story thrown on top of it 100 years after the first two were erected!

    Good luck!
    Thank you for your honest report. Itís a real shame the planning authority are unhelpful. Whilst the rules are there to protect historic buildings , they have the adverse effect if the buyer is not supported.

    Interestingly (or not) Iíve been reading all the case law for prosecuted enforcement. Most is developers with a blatant disregard for the law, who are told to stop what theyíre doing or have a condition imposed on planning and then just ignore it and do irreversible damage.


    I wouldnít be going for this if it wasnít a mostly finished project. I may be underestimating the pain at times, but, I am hoping I can just finish off the work that has planning permission granted.

    Sorry to hear about your experience.


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