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29/05/2020

Supreme Court rules on decorative urns planning saga

Words: Huw Morris
Courtroom Gavel - legal changes that affect planners

A listed buildings enforcement appeal inspector should have considered whether decorative urns were 'buildings' under a ruling by the Supreme Court on a five-year planning battle between a member of the public and Stratford-upon-Avon Council.

Marcus Dill sold the urns in 2009 to raise money for the maintenance of Idlicote House where they had rested on a driveway leading up to the property. The urns had been in his family since the 1900s and had moved with the family from residence to residence, finally ending at Idlicote House in 1973.

He discovered in 2015 they had been listed 23 years earlier without the knowledge of the family. The council said listed building consent had been required for the removal of the urns and threatened formal action and refused a retrospective application for listed building consent.

Following this rejection, a listed building enforcement notice requiring the reinstatement of the items at Idlicote House was issued. Dill argued that reinstating the urns was not feasible as the urns had since been removed from the UK and he did not have access to any information about the purchaser.

He appealed to the secretary of state against the refusal of listed building consent and the enforcement notice on several grounds, including the items not being “buildings” and therefore not capable of being listed in their own right. A planning inspector dismissed the appeals in January 2017, a decision later upheld by the High Court and the Court of Appeal.

However, the Supreme Court said Dill had the right to have the status of the items as “buildings” considered in the appeals. Contrary to what the inspector and the courts decided, the appearance of these items on the statutory list was not conclusive as to their status as “listed buildings”.

Image credit | Shutterstock

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