Rugby property: ‘buildings have rights too’

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From Tudor cottages to rectory conversions, many of Britain’s best properties are listed.

And Sam Funnell, from Fine & Country in Rugby, is keen to advise buyers on whether a listed property is a cash converter or a bank balance hazard.

He said: “Period cottages, country manors, medieval farmsteads and Georgian townhouses – the architecture of listed buildings spans the gamut of property styles. Buildings are listed to mark their historical and architectural interest, and protect them from damage. The listing process began in Britain in 1947, partly as a response to the loss of significant buildings during the Second World War.

“The rule of thumb is that the older a building, the more likely it is to be listed. Almost all pre-1700 buildings, if they resemble their original condition, are listed, joined by the majority of those constructed between 1700 and 1840. Generally, a building has to be over 30 years old to be eligible. It doesn’t have to be beautiful, but rather, it must in some way be rare, unique, architecturally interesting, or of historical interest. Grade II listed denotes structures of ‘special interest’, Grade II* ‘more than special interest’ and Grade I ‘exceptional interest’. There are around 500,000 listed buildings - 92 per cent Grade II, 5.5 percent Grade II* and a mere 2.5 percent Grade I.

Sam added: “On the positive side, buying a listed property means you own an important part of history. Listed properties are often character-filled, every room telling a story. Original period features are highly-valued and can increase the price, especially if refurbished or restored.

“On the down side, carrying out alterations is more complicated than on non-listed buildings. It is illegal to alter the character of a listed building without first obtaining consent from the relevant local planning authority.”