10:56 AM, 26th January 2021, About 5 months ago 18
We are refurbishing a property which is 4 storey house Grade II Listed. Each Floor has Studio Room which comprises of Self Contained Unit. Floor Area is as follows: Basement, Ground Floor, First Floor and Top Floor. The refurbishment commenced almost a month ago and due to finish in about 2 weeks.
Background: It is fully licensed HMO which was already up and running at the time of purchase our Solicitors advice was not to buy as there is NO Listed building consent however our lender insisted indemnity Insurance which we purchased for £230 and as a result, they proceeded with lending. I also contacted the Council in question prior to purchase if the previous owner had fallen foul of Listed building consent to convert the property into an HMO. Their response was in writing that as long as there are No external modifications NO planning nor Listed building consent was needed. I still got that email. Having purchased the property we reapplied for Licence as New owners, Council themselves asked us to do subtle modifications without making any reference to any Listed building consent.
A couple of days ago an Alleged Enforcement Officer walked at the site and threatened all workers to leave the site otherwise they would be committing a “Criminal Offence” half of workers immediately left the site. He then tried to ask the remaining guys to sign some document which they refused to sign. Then he spoke to my Electrician to call me and put me on the phone. His opening gambit was “Are you aware that, you are committing a Criminal Offence as this is a listed building, and he was shouting and screaming, and he told me to instruct all remaining workers off the site” I responded that, all work will continue as normal, and we have not replaced anything monumental, and it was a simple refurb.
He took exception to what I said and started shouting again and said: “Are you stupid or what, you are not allowed to even put a nail through without consent in Grade II Listed buildings.” I responded that all modifications were done by the previous owner we’re simply doing a refurb. He responded that all work must stop with immediate effect, and he will be getting senior officers to formally caution me and took my email address and stated that I will hear back within a week and site meeting will take place.”
I find the following issues:
1) He was not complying with any Covid-19 restrictions. No mask no distancing, and he was using Electrician’s Phone.
2) He did not give any prior warning before his arrival. He had No ID nor did he reveal his name.
3) I checked on English Heritage Site, and it confirms that only outside of the Building is Covered by Grade II Listing such as Front Elevation, Windows Etc.
I suspect this could be a prank? Jealous neighbours?
Can Enforcement Officers behave the way he did, can they ask workers to leave the site? Without any warning? Can they attend site without any written Notice? Can they threaten on the phone?
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