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Watch out for listed buildings

30th March, 2012

It has been announced in the news today that Cheshire is at the heart of a new initiative to help protect historic buildings and monuments.

A new study commissioned by English Heritage has revealed the true extent of damage to listed buildings and other heritage assets by criminal activities such as vandalism and anti-social behaviour.The report identifies that over 18 per cent of listed buildings in the UK have been damaged  by criminal activities whilst anti-social behaviour was the single most common heritage crime facing scheduled ancient monuments.

English Heritage has agreed a partnership model with the police, the criminal prosecution service and with local authorities, including Cheshire West and Chester Council, as well as other professional groups to establish neighbourhood policing.

The Tarvin Heritage Watch Scheme has been launched as a result of this initiative in association with the Cheshire Constabulary. Local residents will keep their eyes out for any damage to listed buildings, churches and monuments and report it for appropriate action.

Whilst vandalism and anti-social behaviour are the focus of concern it is important for all owners and occupiers of listed buildings to be aware of is new focus on protecting heritage assets. English Heritage has identified four key priorities to reduce heritage crime and two of these priorities relate directly to unauthorised works to land or buildings. This includes a focus on preventing and detecting unlawful excavations and the removal of articles from the historic environment as well as the prevention and enforcement of unauthorised works to a listed building.

If you are the owner or occupier of a listed building you must be very careful to ensure that any works you carry out have the proper approvals or you could end up being prosecuted and forced to carry out expensive remediation works. Failing to have the proper approval to carry out works to a listed building is a criminal offence and can carry a fine of up to £20,000 or possibly even imprisonment for more serious offences.

At Aaron & Partners we have significant expertise in advising both owners and local authorities on listed building issues. If you are looking for advice on listed building issues or planning issues generally please e-mail David Kerfoot or call him on 01244 405538

 

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