Partial destruction at listed Derbyshire house, dating back to the 1600s, leads to prosecution

buildingsA married couple and a joiner have been prosecuted after destroying parts of a historic Derbyshire house dating back to the 1600s.

Derbyshire Live News writes:

Christopher and Sarah Gillott, were turning The Lodge in Main Street, Winster – which is a grade II-listed building – into a B&B. A court heard the distinctive structure of the property, parts of which date back to the 17th century, was protected by law. Magistrates heard that, between September 2007 and December 2016, a curved roof beam ‘of highly significant historic and architectural interest’ was removed from the attic of The Lodge and replaced with a modern A-Frame. Known as a cruck truss, it was one of a pair, which support the roof of the building, the court was told. Oak ceiling supports and purlins – horizontal beams – also likely to have dated from the 17th or early 18th centuries,  were removed and replaced with ‘inappropriate, non-traditional, utilitarian’ alternatives, while floor and ceiling heights were altered.

Prosecutor Nina Pindham said: ‘With a listed building, you cannot just do what you wish. You are a custodian of that building not just for this, but for subsequent, generations.’  The Gillotts, of Hurds Hollow, Matlock, pleaded guilty at Chesterfield Magistrates’ Court to five charges relating to the house, their former home. Joiner Simon Mcloughlin, of Greenhill, Wirksworth, also admitted five charges. The court heard the Peak District National Park Authority became aware of the changes in December 2016 when it received an enquiry, relating to windows and doors, from the current owner….

Ms Pindham said Mr and Mrs Gillott would have known they needed listed building consent for alterations after previously being given permission for works and approval of a grant for roof repairs. She told the court: ‘It is accepted that elements of the property required repair. There are, however, well-established conservation techniques.’  John Wilford, representing Mr and Mrs Gillott and Mr Mcloughlin, accepted that historic value had been lost as a result of the alterations. He said Mr and Mrs Gillott had bought The Lodge as a ‘project’ and had planned to convert it into bed and breakfast…. He said expense had been a factor in the work carried out but conceded that the Peak District National Park Authority should have been consulted.

After the hearing, the authority’s director of conservation and planning, John Scott, said: ‘We have a statutory duty to preserve the special character and architecture of listed buildings. This case sends out a clear message that we will not tolerate reckless alterations of historic buildings. It is a criminal offence to carry out works – or to instruct others to carry out work – to alter a listed building in a way which harms its historic character. Historic buildings and their features are irreplaceable records of our history and, once lost, are gone forever. There’s a misconception that only the exterior of grade II-listed buildings is protected. But internal features are often as important as the exterior in the historical stories they can tell. It’s important that people look after buildings and we want to help them to do that. If you are thinking of carrying out works to a listed building, come to see us – we are here to help. We will give advice free of charge.’…

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