The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Smallholding => Buildings & planning => Topic started by: asedge on July 30, 2012, 10:42:41 pm

Title: Smallholdings and Listed Buildings
Post by: asedge on July 30, 2012, 10:42:41 pm
Hello, I am looking for some advice please.

We are in the process of buying a grade II listed building which has 4.5 acres of land which is classed as residential not agricultural. The land at the moment has five ponds, a small area of young woodland and the house in the centre. There is a peremiter fence, but otherwise is pretty much open rough grassland with a few drainage ditches. 

We would want to do a few things with the land, the first and foremost is to fence off the ponds as we have a 4 year old boy with various serious special educational needs and he will be in the pond in a flash, we simply cannot live in the house with the ponds being unfenced. He has no sense of danger, runs off constantly and doesnt follow instructions much like having an untrained puppy!) - one of us would need to tail him 24/7. We are looking at c.180m of post and rial fencing with wire mesh to do this. We would also want to erect various stock fencing to keep pigs, chieckens, ducks and perhaps a couple of lambs for personal consumption only, we would also want to put up a largeish polytunnel.

I (perhaps Niavely) spoke to the conservation officer today who explained that we would need to submit a planning application for all the works, even as minor as the fencing. I also know that there is a neighbour who has nothing better to do than complain, is in a long running arguement with another neighbour over a boundary issue and has complained before when the current owner put up something as minor as a rose arbour.

We are due to exchange contracts in the next week days, I see we have a few options.

1. Apply for planning for everything we want to do and postpone the move until we have consent (couple of months?) - run the risk of losing the house.
2. Buy the house, put up the fencing, apply retrospecticly and also seperately for the polytunnel - run the risk of being turned down and us having to move for the safety of my son.
3. Buy the house, put up temportary fencing to keep my son safe then apply for the permanat post and rail fencing (again running the risk of not being accepted)
4. Ditch the whole thing and wait for an agriculatural smallholding to come on the market, (with no ponds!)thinking long term, if we have to apply for planning everytime we want to build a fence thats more hassle than its worth.

If anyone has any experience of smallholding with listed buildings it would be much appreciated.

Thank you in adcance,
Title: Re: Smallholdings and Listed Buildings
Post by: henchard on July 30, 2012, 11:01:54 pm
This is only a personal opinion but unless you have very deep pockets I'd think very carefully about buying a listed building.
Title: Re: Smallholdings and Listed Buildings
Post by: clydesdaleclopper on July 30, 2012, 11:05:08 pm
The problem with listed buildings is that anything within the curtilage of the building, which could be the whole area you are buying, is subject to listed building consent. Anything that may affect the character of the building and it's setting will be subject to restrictions and the process is much more onerous than ordinary planning permission. I certainly would not just go ahead and apply retrospectively as that could be a very expensive mistake. I think you have to either hold off purchase until listed building consent has been obtained or look elsewhere.
Title: Re: Smallholdings and Listed Buildings
Post by: bangbang on July 30, 2012, 11:28:31 pm
I believe if you buy the property you will automatically have a duty of care and responsibility to animals/persons who are on your property, so fencing can, and should be made a priority for health and safety reasons. If you tell the council that the measures you have taken are for H&S reasons they are less willing to persue it or take court action so they tend to back down. Works to you grade 2 listed building I'm not so sure about. We built a large shed, moved old walls, fenced, then applied in retrospect - we played dumb - we paid the money's due, alls well.

Remember if a burglar hurts himself on your property - you are liable. We have such understanding laws.

I,m sure other people with better  experience in this matter will help too.
Title: Re: Smallholdings and Listed Buildings
Post by: asedge on July 31, 2012, 07:37:44 am
Thanks for the replies so far.

In this case I assume that the curtilage will extend to the whole land as there are no physical boundaries between the house and the perminter fence, just an old house sat right in the middle of 4.5 acres of grassland (and some ponds!).

I am just trying to figure out if I can live with needing to apply for planning permission every time I want to change a fence position etc... I also know that our potential "understanding" and supportive neighbour will inform the council of every change as he has done so with the current owner on numorous occasions.
Title: Re: Smallholdings and Listed Buildings
Post by: Bionic on July 31, 2012, 07:43:39 am
 I have no knowledge that could help with a situation like this but it does sound as if you could be buying yourself into a load of trouble. To top it all living with nasty neighbours is not pleasant and that in itself would make me think twice.
I hope you manage to get it all sorted
Title: Re: Smallholdings and Listed Buildings
Post by: lachlanandmarcus on July 31, 2012, 08:00:07 am
TBH if I wanted to do agricultural activities, I would steer clear of this property since it sounds as if the listing covers the whole thing and that will always be a headache. We have a listed building (Scotland, grade B (2* equivalent) but can have a free hand with our land, so long as we dont put anything too near the house and also we try to make things attractive and not dominant to the house.
However I| would be checking that by reading the full listing description (normally available online) to ensure that they are not overreaching or exaggerating since it is fairly unusual for that to be the case.
Title: Re: Smallholdings and Listed Buildings
Post by: kitchen cottage on July 31, 2012, 08:34:49 am
I've got my solicitors hat on and my listed buildings owners hat on.  I live on a 4 acre plot
You need first to look at what was within the listing and the purpose of the listing. 
Secondly Curtilage is land that IMMEDIATELY adjoins the building and closely associated outbuildings.  It also had a time element and an element of fixedness.
This article may help (
It is NOT true that all works on a listed building need planning consent, the rules are more complicated, they may need listed buildings consent but not necessarily planning.
I've done a lot of fencing boundary changes etc within my boundary, but not within my curtilage, I haven't needed planning for any on close examination of the rules..  These applications cost 100's each time and are often unnecessary.
I would think seriously about buying a house with an awful interfering neighbour though......
Title: Re: Smallholdings and Listed Buildings
Post by: Brucklay on July 31, 2012, 08:36:40 am
The curtilage should be show on the map in the deeds. When we bought our place - 3 stone walls at the bottom of 5 acres there was only a perimeter fence around the whole lot but the curtilage was just the area around the house - the rest of the land was deemed agricultural and therefore different rules apply.
Title: Re: Smallholdings and Listed Buildings
Post by: deepinthewoods on July 31, 2012, 08:45:43 am
i work on restoring listed buildings. firstly have you read the listings document? i very much doubt that you would need to apply for planning to erect a fence around a pond, as it isnt a permanent alteration to the fabric of the building. the document will tell all.
Title: Re: Smallholdings and Listed Buildings
Post by: asedge on July 31, 2012, 09:09:37 pm
Thanks for all the replies, very useful.

Our solicitors are on the case, I spoke to the old lady who own the house today who said "there are no deeds so you dont need to worry" and "the curtilidge extends to the boundary, but none knows exactly where that is so you shouldnt worry" - may be a while before this is resolved!

Title: Re: Smallholdings and Listed Buildings
Post by: bloomer on July 31, 2012, 09:10:49 pm
thats an old lady being evasive, get the solicitors to sort it before you commit as it sounds like a big can of worms!!!

Title: Re: Smallholdings and Listed Buildings
Post by: Brucklay on July 31, 2012, 10:25:43 pm
Agree with Bloomer as there's certain things you can do within your curtilage that doesn't require planning and certain things you can do on agri land that is easier to get planning - so ideally you would like a bit of both (or a least it worked out best for us that way) and certainly don't take it for granted from the 'nice lady next door' ours turned out to be totally nutty!!!! Got sorted in the end and ended up going back a sale but worried me for a while.
Title: Re: Smallholdings and Listed Buildings
Post by: sabrina on August 04, 2012, 11:29:24 am
Sounds like you are walking into a mine field  :o
Title: Re: Smallholdings and Listed Buildings
Post by: Mel Rice on August 04, 2012, 12:17:10 pm
Good luck!!!!
Title: Re: Smallholdings and Listed Buildings
Post by: chrismahon on August 04, 2012, 10:34:45 pm
We have a grade 2 listed building and run the garden as a smallholding, which is all residential AND within a conservation area. Issues with listed buildings are over-rated. There is no problem with anything up to one metre high anywhere, more than that needs planning, but only immediately alongside the building. The house was an issue because of the listed features -moulded door frame and sash windows. But we never needed planning permission for any restoration or repairs, only if we wanted to physically change the house -inside or out. Listed building consent takes time but isn't that much hassle. Just remember you are merely the custodian of that property for future generations Asedge. Benefits are living in a prestige property and not just another box. Work can be expensive as your average builder simply hasn't the skills necessary to successfully work on a listed building, you need proper craftsmen.
Be patient with house changes and just put up your fencing. Keep the polytunnel out of the same view as the house, as seen from others (we had a very big polytunnel -if the neighbours could have objected they would). We also have multi-couloured large chicken coops and an electric fencing line on saddles over a historic boundary wall -no problems.
Title: Re: Smallholdings and Listed Buildings
Post by: lachlanandmarcus on August 05, 2012, 08:27:26 am
Thats good advice. When getting PP for our stables, we emphasised it being back from the line of the house so that the views were maintained, and also specified we would paint them dark green to make them blend in. It works too, when viewed from the signed walk on a hill in the distance, you cant really see the stables but you can see the soft pink lime harled house very clearly.
If theres no fencing near the house, it almost gives you an opportunity to define the curtilage where restrictions will apply - ie we did this, we put the fence x yards back from the back of the house and now as far as planners are concerned, thats the curtilage from what I can tell. NB they do also still have with listed buildings the ability to control stuff which is outside the curtilage affecting the buildings context but as long as you are sensitive with where you put things or (if PP/LBconsent needed) you show you are trying to minimise impact they are (from my experience) not too bad. The main thing they are concerned with is the house, if you play ball with them on materials (2x the cost of normal) and techniques (2x) and dont try and apply for unsympathetic extensions etc they will prob be happy. eg ours is B listed (GII* equivalent) but although they wouldnt allow any alteration to the footprint, we did agree with them that on the plain rear of the house we could have a small sloping mansard roof for part of the width which meant we could fit in two ensuite showerrooms to the bedrooms. Yet on paper this would be  a no-no, but they recognised that actually it improved the look of the rear.
just some thoughts, hope they help.
Title: Re: Smallholdings and Listed Buildings
Post by: Fowgill Farm on August 07, 2012, 12:39:38 pm
Well IMHO i'd choose option 4 on your list unless you're really prepared to have all sorts of grief not just from the authorities but your awful sounding neighbour too, not only that you have a child who you says needs 24/7 attention, take off those rosy tinted specs mate and start looking for a different place to live your dream! There will be one out there somewhere all good things come to those who wait and i know its frustrating but really walk away from this one!
mandy  :pig:
Title: Re: Smallholdings and Listed Buildings
Post by: asedge on August 08, 2012, 06:49:53 pm
Thanks for all the replies - good to have a range of viewpoints.

We have since spoken further with our solicitors and the planners and they are happy for us to put up the fencing without a problem. Turns out the land is actually agricultural land after all, our solictor had made a mistake. And ten years ago the ponds were fenced in as the previous owner kept cattle on the land and wanted to keep them out of the ponds. We exchanged contracts yesterday and are planning to move next week. Poly tunnel is also fine. Further digging also suggests that the neightbour issue is partly down to a personality clash with the current owner rather as much as anything esle.

I know some of you may disagree but I we are sure we are doing the right thing, with the fencing up our son will be safe and will hopefully learn some valuable life skills from what we are doing.

Thanks again and I am sure I will be after further advice soon!
Title: Re: Smallholdings and Listed Buildings
Post by: Fowgill Farm on August 08, 2012, 08:09:56 pm
We can only offer advice on the info you give us, glad after further investigation things are not as bad as first painted, so best of luck and you know where we all are when you want our input somemore. i'm sure you'll make a good life for your child and yourselves.
All the best
mandy :pig:
Title: Re: Smallholdings and Listed Buildings
Post by: goosepimple on August 08, 2012, 08:41:51 pm
Hi, I've got my architect's hat on.  Agree with checking what your listing has written - this will be accessible from the Listed Buildings dept of your council and states exactly what is listed.  It may cover the buildings but not the land.  Deeds can have mistakes on them - showing boundaries where a new fence was erected rather than the middle of a river etc, so its difficult and time consuming to sort out what becomes acceptable for you and your solicitor.  It sounds like this is going to take a bit of time.  It may be worth having a conversation with your LB officer about the health and safety thing.  It's all a bit 'ouch' to be honest.  We are very cagey what we tell our planners / LB officers, it's better just to keep a low profile sometimes but that grumpy neighbour may have you of course so you may have to do the whole thing by the book.  The fencing around the ponds for example won't be necessary when your kids are about 8 (we have a large pond, listed buildings, listed land etc) and these temporary issues I wouldn't normally mention.  Your neighbour may have other ideas of course.  If it's your dream place though I'd stick with it but it may not be once you know big brother next door is always there, peering through the hedge  8)
Title: Re: Smallholdings and Listed Buildings
Post by: deepinthewoods on August 08, 2012, 10:09:09 pm
i dont think buying a listed building is a bad idea at all, its certainly a better investment long term than a new build . an advantage with listed buildings is that the previous owners will have had to follow the same guidlines which can mean  the standard of works is better.
i havent worked on a lb resoration yet where the listing has not been 'right', whilst they may have been a pain its been worth it in the long run.