Developer fined thousands after removing historic features from listed house

A property development company has been ordered to pay more than £55,000 after removing historic features from a listed building without consent.

Newell’s Projects Limited, its director David Newell, 47, and Paul Priestley, a site manager employed by the company, had all previously pleaded guilty to six offences relating to the removal of irreplaceable features at the Grade II-listed Castle Moat House in Drury Lane, Lincoln.

These offences included removing historic lime plaster wall surfaces in 12 rooms, removing historic ceilings in seven rooms and the removal of a section of historic roof purlin and rafters.

The three parties were also found to have removed decorative cornices and skirting boards in four and 14 rooms respectively, created two new doorways through internal walls and removed historic timber lintels.

In a sentencing hearing at Lincoln Magistrates’ Court on 13th January, district judge Peter Veits ordered Newell’s Projects Limited and Mr Newell to each pay a £12,000 fine, £12,000 in costs and a £170 victims’ surcharge.

Meanwhile, Mr Priestley received a £3,900 fine and was ordered to pay £3,000 costs and a £170 victims’ surcharge.

Councillor Neil Murray, portfolio holder for planning policy and economic regeneration at City of Lincoln Council, said: “It is an offence to carry out work to a listed building without the necessary consent, and we are pleased the level of these fines recognise the seriousness of these offences.

“In this case, officers met the owner on site and provided advice on the consents required, but work needing listed-building consent was still undertaken.

“Causing harm to the character of a building of special architectural or historic interest is not acceptable and, while we don’t take the decision to prosecute lightly, we will always take action against breaches of the heritage protection legislation where this is in the public interest.”

The property was constructed within the moat of Lincoln Castle in around 1820, and many of the historic features damaged or destroyed by the developer were additions dating from the mid-19th century.

In mitigation, the defendants claimed that it was their intention to refurbish Castle Moat House for use as a family home.

Kieron Manning, planning manager at the council, added: “However that building may look at the end of that modernisation process, something of value which should be sustained for the benefit of present and future generations has been lost.”

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