Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas
Nearly a decade ago and in conjunction with solicitors Simmons & Simmons, Jackson-Stops & Staff published a document entitled 'A Guide to Listed Building Legislation'. It proved remarkably popular with owners, potential owners and - to a surprising extent - other professionals. It also included an invitation to provide feedback on the document itself and on what else, relevant to Jackson Stops & Staff's activities, those interested in our country's built heritage might welcome further information. Two issues emerged above all others.
Firstly, it became clear that a significant minority of potential buyers were apprehensive about the apparent complexity of Listed Building legislation and its impact upon them if they were to buy a listed property. A high proportion of the properties handled by Jackson-Stops & Staff are listed, so this was clearly an issue that we wanted to address!
Secondly, a great number of respondents - especially those in urban areas - identified a dearth of information on the significance of Conservation Area status. As the relevant legislation had only recently been enacted at that stage this was, arguably, understandable. However, the availability of good information on this subject is still limited to the few local authorities that give such matters a high priority.
As a direct result of this feedback, Jackson-Stops & Staff have now published a new document, 'Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas: a guide to the legislation and how it affects you'. Its purpose is to provide concise and accessible information on these matters and so help would-be purchasers to feel confident that they have asked the right questions, and vendors to ensure they have the answers readily available. It also aims to reveal the rules and regulations on Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas as straightforward: which, in the main, they are.
VAT on Listed Buildings
Jackson-Stops & Staff jointly sponsored an independent research project looking into the effects of VAT being charged on repairs to Listed buildings. For many years various organisations who have represented the owners of Listed buildings have been lobbying the Government to do something to help owners faced with ever-increasing costs as they struggle to maintain our built heritage.
Unfortunately this problem has become embroiled in the EU's declared intention to harmonise all the rates of VAT charged by the member countries. Furthermore Listed buildings are all too frequently associated with the large stately homes and not the masses of modest period houses up and down the country.
The study revealed that it was the smaller Listed houses that suffered the most. Whilst some historic buildings and houses open to the public were able to reclaim part or all of the VAT payments, the owners of lesser, yet historical important properties were seldom able to do so. Furthermore, private owners were less likely to be able to afford professional advice to mitigate their VAT liabilities. The full findings of the report can be found on www.vatbuiltheritage.org.uk.
We are keen to continue to support the efforts being made by the Joint Committee of the National Amenity Society and would be interested to receive examples of any VAT problems you, the owners of Listed buildings have faced and in particular any anomalies. We cannot take up individual cases and any correspondence will be treated in strict confidence but the more evidence we have the more weight we can bring to bear in negotiating on behalf of all Listed building owners.
If you can help provide facts and figures of case histories please e-mail Dawn Carritt at email@example.com.
Jackson-Stops & Staff Produces a publication "Listed Buildings" which is available free of charge from any Jackson-Stops & Staff office.