The Council has successfully obtained two High Court injunctions to prevent unauthorised works at two listed buildings in the city – including the 16th Century Grade II* listed Hough End Hall.
Emergency injunctions were sought after Council officers had repeatedly tried to engage with the property owners to stop works voluntarily, which also included a listed property on Withington Road, in Whalley Range, south Manchester.
Carrying out works to listed buildings without first gaining listed building consent is a criminal offence, in breach of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990. Those found responsible can be given an unlimited fine, or face imprisonment, if found guilty in court.
The owners of the two properties continued to carry out unauthorised works after being advised by the Council that to do so was a criminal offence.
Hough End Hall, off Nell Lane – built in 1596 as a manor house for wool merchant Sir Nicholas Mosely – is one of Manchester’s few Grade II* listed properties. The current owners recently started to construct a two-storey extension to the rear, which in the view of planning officers, would have caused significant damage to the building and harm to its appearance.
The injunction stops all unauthorised works at the property for a period of two years.
The listed property on Withington Road forms part of a pair of mid-nineteenth century villas built by Samuel Brooks – who is responsible for much of Whalley Range as we know it today.
Planning permission and listed building consent was granted by the Council in 2019 for works to restore its original character. However, when gaining access to the property it was found that the original and historic features had been removed and the original room layout altered, causing considerable damage and harm to the building.
The injunction halts any unauthorised works at the property for a period of nine months and the building owner will be asked to restore all historic and original features.
The High Court injunction orders restrain the owners of each building from carrying out any further works without consent from the Council. If they breach the orders, then they may be found to be in contempt of court, which may lead to a large fine or imprisonment.
In both cases, the Council were able to recoup legal costs from the owners, which amounted to £3,500 at Withington Road and £5,000 at Hough End Hall.
Councillor Tracey Rawlins, Executive Member for Environment, Planning & Transport, said: “The Council takes its duty to protect our listed buildings incredibly seriously. These buildings tell of Manchester’s rich heritage, and we will always try and intervene where possible to keep that history intact.
“Whilst it is unfortunate that Council officers have had to go to such lengths to stop any further damage to these buildings, I hope this serves as a warning to others that undertaking work without permission will be met with stern opposition.
“Historic buildings add significant value to our communities, and it is hoped that the owners of these two buildings will now work with the Council to restore them and repair any damage – without need for further formal enforcement action.”