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Historic city building owner fined for damage

By The Citizen  |  Posted: February 06, 2013

Comments (7)

A HISTORIC Gloucester house was damaged beyond repair by careless owner Christopher Cave.

Unlawful work to a 19th Century grade two listed building on Southgate Street has cost Cave, from Newnham- on-Severn, almost £2,000 in court fines and costs.

But it has cost city heritage a whole lot more – a historic wall was completely demolished to make a room bigger.

He also altered the main historic staircase, damaged entrance tiles and threw out architectural details such as the plaster ceiling, skirting and coving.

Cave pleaded guilty at Cheltenham Magistrates' Court to the charge in connection to works at his Southgate Street house on Monday.

Cave was ordered to pay a fine of £250 and costs of £1,488.

Hugh Worsnip, from Gloucester Civic Trust, said it was a good result.

"We very much support the city council's valiant efforts to preserve Gloucester's heritage," he said. "Southgate Street needs preserving and this is definitely a loss for the street.

"I hope this serves as a lesson to others.

"We have a panel of architects who comment on applications to make alterations to historic properties and we would very much support this ruling."

The works to the house, which dates back to 1835, were undertaken without planning or listed building consent and were discovered in May 2009.

A Gloucester City Council conservation officer argued the building had been damaged.

Council leader Paul James said: "This case and the resulting fine should send out a very clear message to developers that they cannot 'rip apart' listed buildings at a whim.

"These buildings form a vital part of our heritage and we have a duty to see that they are preserved and that developers treat them with the sympathy that their age and importance requires."

He added: "Any owner who is in doubt about works they propose to do on a listed building should contact the council."

Mr Cave was not available for comment.

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7 comments

  • GlosAnarchy  |  February 07 2013, 4:37PM

    Some questions Christopher Cave needs to answer. Is it true you had been in discussion with the City Council for 2 years prior to the enforcement notice and had not resolved the damage. You knew the building was listed as you gained listed building consent for some work to the building so why did you damage the building? Would you do the same next time?

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  • GlosAnarchy  |  February 07 2013, 12:15PM

    "careless" replace with negligent, he also had 6 months to repair the damage but did not repair the damage, he will also now find it VERY hard to sell the property. £250 fine is a joke but Christopher Cave now has a criminal record! "restoring the building to its former state (section 38(2)(a), LBA 1990)" "The Local Government Ombudsman may find "maladministration" if the Council fails to take effective enforcement action which is plainly necessary within a reasonable timescale." Refrence Number: 09/00091/BOCON Building: 141 Southgate StreetGloucesterGL1 1XQ Type: LBENF (Listed Building Enforcement Notice) Date Issued: 09/02/2012 Effective Date: 10/03/2012 Date to comply: 10/09/2012 This is still an active notice as per 1st of this month so he still has to correct the damage or end up in court again! This is missing from the story

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  • CBCschmucks  |  February 06 2013, 5:36PM

    Chris Cave is just a greedy insensitive a$$whole who destroyed the historic fabric of a building for capital gain. But, the biggest failure to this building are the magistrates courts who let this little maggot off with a paltry fine. Nice job!

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  • raidermanuk  |  February 06 2013, 10:31AM

    What a result for Mr Cave - certainly beats going to planning and getting turned down! Obviously he knew he couldn't carry out the work without planning permission. He also knew that he would be found out if he did. He also knew the resultant fine and costs would be derisory and represent a small percentage of his project development costs. Sum it all up he was right! He got what he wanted, cheaply and without delay to the project. If the law is seen to be weak it's natural that it will be abused.

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  • Matt1006  |  February 06 2013, 9:50AM

    Another regurgitated story by TiG. And still a pathetic fine. This "developer" must have known it was a Listed building, and therefore that he was committing an offence with every unapproved "alteration" he made. He has at least been found out and put before a magistrates court, but does a £250 fine really send out a message that such actions are unacceptable? Not in my opinion it doesn't. I hope the local Planning Officers / Conservation Officers (and also Building Control) will be keeping an eagle-eye on this chap from now on. Maybe they should take a look at other buildings he's worked on, especially if also Listed.

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  • geraint2010  |  February 06 2013, 9:38AM

    "A good result" Mr Worsnip? You must be joking! More like carte blanch for property developers to ride roughshod over our heritage in pursuit of personal gain.

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  • Lecorche  |  February 06 2013, 9:15AM

    A penalty of less than £1800 must have had Mr. Cave laughing all the way home. If that's the best that can be done then any iffy developer has just been given a green light.

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