Stately home owner ordered to spend tens of thousands reversing changes after planning appeals are dismissed
PUBLISHED: 14:56 21 December 2018 | UPDATED: 15:27 21 December 2018
The owner of a 17th century stately home has been ordered to undo a trio of changes made to neighbouring buildings, following a decade-long planning row - works which will cost him tens of thousands of pounds to complete.
Roger Gawn, owner of Melton Constable Hall near Holt, has failed in three appeals against enforcement notices issued by North Norfolk District Council relating to the Grade I listed building.
The notices relate to three particular changes made by Mr Gawn to curtilage buildings of the stately home over the space of 14 years, none of which he gained planning permission to do.
Over this period Mr Gawn took down a cupola from a former fire engine house, stored away the mechanism from a clock tower and replaced the windows of a bath house - all within the grounds of the stately home.
Mr Gawn said: “The cupola, which to me is more like a ventilator, had deteriorated to the point that it was at a risk of falling down. Had it done so and fallen on somebody, it would have killed them stone dead, so I took the common sense approach to take it down.
“The clock was taken down to allow repair work to be done to the roof, so I was simply storing it for safe keeping to conserve it. Meanwhile, the windows were in desperate need of updating.”
However, as planning permission had not been granted for any of the three schemes, the planning inspectorate ruled in favour of the council, after Mr Gawn appealed against the enforcement notices.
He said: “I feel the ruling was made purely on technicalities, rather than taking into account the background and a common sense approach.
“I completely support conservation and restoration and doing the right things for historical buildings and that is how I have done things for 50 years. “The last thing I would do to the building is anything to destroy its integrity.”
Mr Gawn added that the works will set him back thousands, estimating that replacing the windows could cost between £50,000 and £80,000, while the cupola could cost between £5,000 and £10,000.
A spokesman for NNDC said: “The appeals have been dismissed and the enforcement notices have been upheld in terms of Appeal A (the cupola) and amended and upheld in terms of Appeals B and C.
“The appellant is now required to comply with the notices and the council will meet with him to discuss how he will comply with the notices.”