Listed building owner given a year to repair vandalised property

A planning inspector has told the owner of a vandalised listed building that he has 12 months to put things right.

Telford & Wrekin Council's decision has been amended by a planning inspector
Telford & Wrekin Council's decision has been amended by a planning inspector

Barry James Fradley, the owner of Middle Lodge, in Chetwynd Road, Newport, appealed to the Planning Inspectorate against a listed building enforcement notice issued last July by Telford & Wrekin Council.

A hearing was held on October 26 where barristers representing the council and Mr Fradley set out their cases. It heard that the council got a few things wrong in the enforcement notice - including the name of the property - but those were able to be corrected by the inspector.

One of Mr Fradley's main contentions was that he needed more time to comply with the order. The council wanted to order him to replace the roof, windows and front door among other issues, within six months. Mr Fradley wanted 24 months.

The building was listed in Grade II on April 8, 1983 and is noted as a small gothic lodge from 1860. Mr Fradley has owned it since the late 1980s.

In a decision notice issued on December 29, the planning inspector split the difference between Mr Fradley and the council by ordering him to take action in 12 months.

In its decision letter the Planning Inspectorate said: "The appellant has requested the period for compliance be extended to 24 months as he intends to pursue a planning application for a scheme of six new dwellings to enable refurbishment works to progress and be completed on the appeal building.

"Middle Lodge has been vacant and unused for many years and has suffered from numerous acts of theft and vandalism. As a result, it is in a perilous state of repair.

"I understand the appellant’s concerns about replacing the items and those items being stolen or damaged. I also agree that the ideal time for those items to be installed would be as part of a comprehensive programme of repair and renovation relating to the reuse of the building.

"However, the council’s pre-application response to the appellant’s proposed scheme indicates that there appears to be a large number of potential issues relating to that scheme.

"It is not clear if those issues can be successfully overcome. I was told at the hearing that the main stumbling block is the cost of providing power and services to the site. Yet in the late 1990s the shell of the extension to Middle Lodge was constructed.

The inspector said however that the building's condition highlights that it is vacant and "its perilous condition will also attract further acts of vandalism and theft."

The work is needed to stop a "spiral of deterioration", the inspector said.

"Therefore, irrespective of whether funding becomes available through a successful planning scheme, the replacement of the roof tiles, chimney pots, windows, front door, finials and balusters should assist in making the building appear secure and cared-for.

"Consequently the spiral of deterioration that the building is caught in could be temporarily halted."

The inspector concluded that 24 months "seems to me to be excessive considering the perilous state of the building and the length of time it has been vacant.

"Taking account of all the relevant circumstances I consider that a period of 12 months would be more reasonable, and I will vary the notice accordingly."

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