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Thursday, 30 October 2014

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House roof sparks legal proceedings

THE owners of an historic Whitehaven home have been shocked to learn that they may face legal proceedings over an “unauthorised” roof – that was installed before they moved in 25 years ago.

Alan and Helen Congdon live in the prominent Grade II-listed Toll Bar Cottage, on the road out of Whitehaven at the bottom of Bransty Road.

It has been revealed that they could be the subject of an investigation by Copeland Council as it is thought the building’s roof may have been altered – from traditional slate to tiles – without gaining the strict planning consent that listed buildings are subject to.

This roof work took place at some point between 1984 and 1989 – before Mr and Mrs Congdon moved in – although Copeland Council says the matter has only just come to light.

The couple says however that Copeland Council has always been aware of the altered roof, and has even made approaches to Mr and Mrs Congdon over a number of years to offer financial assistance in having the roof restored to its former state.

They add that they have always sought the appropriate permission when making alterations to their home.

Enforcement action on listed buildings can include ordering that aspects are restored to their original state. It is unclear at this stage on whom this responsibility would fall, if such action is taken on the Congdons’ roof.

The issue emerged at a meeting of Copeland’s planning panel last week – at which Mr and Mrs Congdon unsuccessfully applied for permission to have the windows on the front of their home changed from wood to uPVC.

On the advice of their conservation officer, councillors turned the plans down as they felt the uPVC windows would be “harmful” to the traditional appearance of the building.

However, while assessing the window application, the conservation officer reported: “The roof, described in 1984 as a graduated slate roof, has been replaced by a concrete tiled roof with no apparent authorisation.

“This should be further investigated with a view to taking enforcement action.”

Councillors agreed that this investigation should take place and Mr Congdon is to meet with Copeland’s planning department this week to address the matter.

There is a four-year time limit for the council taking enforcement action on a regular property, however there is no such time limit on listing buildings.

Toll Bar Cottage was built for the Whitehaven Turnpike Trust and has an 1854 date stone located above the double-fronted main entrance door. It remains significant for its historic connections and remaining architectural detail.

Have your say

I don't think that these people have anything to fear. Seems to me that the Council is weak and blows a lot of hot air at those it thinks are weaker. This is interesting and I hope the WN reports on the outcome

Posted by Won't do it on 4 July 2013 at 16:07

So, having sorted out all the other minor problems facing us in copeland, the council can now turn it's attention to the important stuff...

Posted by bob on 4 July 2013 at 09:37

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