Listed Ipswich property owner hit with £40k bill for banned alterations
PUBLISHED: 12:12 24 July 2019 | UPDATED: 12:12 24 July 2019
A listed building owner has been fined £20,000 and ordered to pay almost as much in prosecution costs for carrying out alterations without proper consent.
Brian Nelson was told he could face jail unless satisfactory progress was made to restore unauthorised work on the Grade II listed property in Ipswich.
In February, he admitted eight counts of contravening planning law by affecting the character of a building of special architectural or historic interest, in Silent Street, without authorisation.
He returned to Suffolk Magistrates' Court on Tuesday to receive a bill of almost £40,000 for carrying out the work.
The prosecution, brought by Ipswich Borough Council, covered a period of time between October 4, 1994 and November 16, 2017.
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Unauthorised work on the early 19th century building included creating door openings between rooms on the ground floor, where a section of ceiling and cornice was removed; a section of original door frame replaced, and a section of historic plaster work chased out for electrical cable and conduits for electrical switches.
An original door opening was removed and widened on the landing of the first floor, where the majority of original lath and plaster ceiling was removed, along with part of wall forming the historic lath and plaster construction in two rooms.
Nelson, who told magistrates he lived between 6 Silent Street and an address in Station Road West, Stowmarket, was convicted of eight counts of breaching the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act on February 7. But the case was adjourned for the determination of a requisite listed building consent application and for work to begin on restoring the works.
The borough council said recent inspections had revealed some progress, but that there was still a considerable amount to complete.
A spokesman said: "We take very seriously our duty to ensure the law is complied with regarding the conservation and maintenance of listed buildings.
"The majority of listed building owners in Ipswich are responsible custodians of the town's heritage, and the council is keen to offer free support and advice. But in the rare cases of deliberate neglect or unauthorised alterations, we are prepared to take a range of enforcement options."
Magistrates fined Nelson £2,500 for each breach and awarded £19,795.50 in costs.