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Breaking planning law proves costly for city property owner

A property owner who converted a listed building without the required consent has been ordered to return the building to its original state.

Mrs G. Kozolowski, owner of a Grade 1 listed property in Sussex Square, had appealed against an enforcement notice issued by Brighton & Hove City Council, after installing a staircase and mezzanine floor to create two extra bedrooms.

However, the Planning Inspectorate (the Government Agency dealing with planning appeals) has backed the council, upheld the enforcement notice and given Mrs Kozolowski eight months to remove the unauthorised works.

The council’s enforcement team investigated the building works in Sussex Square following a complaint. Officers found that one of the first floor rooms had been subdivided, a staircase and floor added and two now rooms created.

The work had been carried out without listed building consent.The officers considered that the works seriously harmed the character of the listed building and served an enforcement notice requiring the staircase and mezzanine floor to be removed and the building returned to its original state. The owners appealed to the Government’s Planning Inspectorate but, following a hearing, the inspector fully agreed with the council and upheld the notice. Environment councillor Geoffrey Theobald said: “We are extremely pleased that the government inspector has upheld the decision of our enforcement officers.

These Grade 1 listed buildings in Sussex Square are of exceptional interest both locally and nationally, and are among only a small number of properties listed at that grade. “It is the responsibility of those fortunate enough to own these special properties to ensure that they are properly maintained to preserve their unique character for future generations.”

Listed Building Consent is required for internal and external alterations to all listed buildings. Carrying out unauthorised works is a criminal offence and can lead to a notice to remove the works or to prosecution. It is essential that advice is sought before carrying out any physical alterations to listed buildings. As this case shows, failure to do so can result in significant expense for property owners.

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