Council unable to get roof put back

Elizabeth Cottage has been without a roof since January

Elizabeth Cottage has been without a roof since January

First published in South Essex by

BASILDON Council says it is powerless to take action against developers which ripped the roof off a centuryold landmark without permission.

Elizabeth Cottage, in Billericay High Street, has now been open to the elements for more than six months after its owners tried to demolish the building.

The work was halted after Basildon Council went to court and obtained a civil injunction barring demolition work.

However, the court order ran out this week and while officials are looking into the options, they fear there is little they can do to save the house.

Council leader Phil Turner, who represents Billericay West ward, said: “I know officers have been looking at what can be done now, but this is where the lawmakes us impotent.

“Residents will, no doubt, be devastated about what has happened, but I want them to know we try our best to preserve the heritage of Billericay.

“The rain will have had a dramatic effect on Elizabeth Cottage, but unfortunately, we can’t force the owners to put the roof back on.”

Town councillors Ian Davie, who chairs Billericay Town Council’s planning committee, said urgent action was needed to stop the house becoming damaged beyond repair. He added: “We need to get tarpaulin or something put up, as soon as possible to stop any more rain getting into the building.

“That would give Basildon Council a bit of breathing space to decide what its next move will be, though it has already had a fewmonths to think about that.

“Elizabeth Cottage is a landmark building in a prominent position, and I’ve had a lot of comments from residents about the state it’s in.”

It is understood the council has found it hard to contact the four people who jointly own Elizabeth Cottage, as they live abroad.

The building is in the town’s conservation area, but has stood empty for many years. It was last a family home 40 years ago.

Neil Costen, Basildon Council’s planning enforcement manager, said: “We are now assessing our options and the council will determine how best to ensure compliance is achieved. We are unable to comment any further, as this is an operational matter.”

Comments (10)

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6:40pm Wed 27 Aug 14

Dan_ says...

Taking the roof off, obviously a plan to ensure the property deteriorates to the point of no repair. So they can build whatever it is they want there instead. My advice to Basildon council, send a letter to the owners and make it clear that absolutely no redevelopment will be permitted by them or others if they deliberately allow the building to fall into disrepair. After all, removing the roof without planning permission already contravenes conservation area rules.
Taking the roof off, obviously a plan to ensure the property deteriorates to the point of no repair. So they can build whatever it is they want there instead. My advice to Basildon council, send a letter to the owners and make it clear that absolutely no redevelopment will be permitted by them or others if they deliberately allow the building to fall into disrepair. After all, removing the roof without planning permission already contravenes conservation area rules. Dan_
  • Score: 25

6:48pm Wed 27 Aug 14

ccd says...

Don't get this. Is it listed? Then things can be done. If not, despite it being an old building, can't see why the council are getting involved. If it's that important a building, it would be listed?
Don't get this. Is it listed? Then things can be done. If not, despite it being an old building, can't see why the council are getting involved. If it's that important a building, it would be listed? ccd
  • Score: 9

7:23pm Wed 27 Aug 14

_Lotus_ says...

Dan_ wrote:
Taking the roof off, obviously a plan to ensure the property deteriorates to the point of no repair. So they can build whatever it is they want there instead. My advice to Basildon council, send a letter to the owners and make it clear that absolutely no redevelopment will be permitted by them or others if they deliberately allow the building to fall into disrepair. After all, removing the roof without planning permission already contravenes conservation area rules.
This ^

Any proposed building work would have to obtain permission anyway, so continually refuse it.

For the Council to say they can do nothing sounds more like they don't want to do anything, they also state they cannot force the owners to re-roof the building, why can't they, the roof was removed without permission, therefore they now need to replace it.
[quote][p][bold]Dan_[/bold] wrote: Taking the roof off, obviously a plan to ensure the property deteriorates to the point of no repair. So they can build whatever it is they want there instead. My advice to Basildon council, send a letter to the owners and make it clear that absolutely no redevelopment will be permitted by them or others if they deliberately allow the building to fall into disrepair. After all, removing the roof without planning permission already contravenes conservation area rules.[/p][/quote]This ^ Any proposed building work would have to obtain permission anyway, so continually refuse it. For the Council to say they can do nothing sounds more like they don't want to do anything, they also state they cannot force the owners to re-roof the building, why can't they, the roof was removed without permission, therefore they now need to replace it. _Lotus_
  • Score: 14

7:30pm Wed 27 Aug 14

GrumpyofLeigh says...

Is it not sufficient that the Council attempt to contact the owners (proof of postage etc) or do they really have to enter a dialogue?
Is it not sufficient that the Council attempt to contact the owners (proof of postage etc) or do they really have to enter a dialogue? GrumpyofLeigh
  • Score: 9

8:26pm Wed 27 Aug 14

another council tax payer says...

The council seem to be selective who they pursue
The council seem to be selective who they pursue another council tax payer
  • Score: 13

8:17am Thu 28 Aug 14

Kim Gandy says...

Are there no penalties for breaching conservation area rules? If not, there ought to be.

If Basildon Council slashed its useless chief executive Bala Mahendran's vast phone number salary, they could spend the money instead on compulsory purchase, take over the property and do it up sympathetically and use it for some purpose that would benefit the people of the Basildon district.
Are there no penalties for breaching conservation area rules? If not, there ought to be. If Basildon Council slashed its useless chief executive Bala Mahendran's vast phone number salary, they could spend the money instead on compulsory purchase, take over the property and do it up sympathetically and use it for some purpose that would benefit the people of the Basildon district. Kim Gandy
  • Score: 1

8:40am Thu 28 Aug 14

cropped hero says...

Kim Gandy do you live in the borough?

If you do then feel free to comment but if you don't please keep your opinions to yourself.
Kim Gandy do you live in the borough? If you do then feel free to comment but if you don't please keep your opinions to yourself. cropped hero
  • Score: -5

10:02am Thu 28 Aug 14

Hawthorne says...

Kim Gandy wrote:
Are there no penalties for breaching conservation area rules? If not, there ought to be.

If Basildon Council slashed its useless chief executive Bala Mahendran's vast phone number salary, they could spend the money instead on compulsory purchase, take over the property and do it up sympathetically and use it for some purpose that would benefit the people of the Basildon district.
CPOs are for very specific requirements, usually for public works for utilities or transport reasons and normally mandated by an act of Parliament. It's not going to happen for a cottage in a high street just because it's a shame to lose it.
[quote][p][bold]Kim Gandy[/bold] wrote: Are there no penalties for breaching conservation area rules? If not, there ought to be. If Basildon Council slashed its useless chief executive Bala Mahendran's vast phone number salary, they could spend the money instead on compulsory purchase, take over the property and do it up sympathetically and use it for some purpose that would benefit the people of the Basildon district.[/p][/quote]CPOs are for very specific requirements, usually for public works for utilities or transport reasons and normally mandated by an act of Parliament. It's not going to happen for a cottage in a high street just because it's a shame to lose it. Hawthorne
  • Score: 0

10:52am Thu 28 Aug 14

cropped hero says...

Hawthorne wrote:
Kim Gandy wrote:
Are there no penalties for breaching conservation area rules? If not, there ought to be.

If Basildon Council slashed its useless chief executive Bala Mahendran's vast phone number salary, they could spend the money instead on compulsory purchase, take over the property and do it up sympathetically and use it for some purpose that would benefit the people of the Basildon district.
CPOs are for very specific requirements, usually for public works for utilities or transport reasons and normally mandated by an act of Parliament. It's not going to happen for a cottage in a high street just because it's a shame to lose it.
Oh dear Ms Gandy has yet again shown that she doesn't know what shes talking about.

To think that she claims she used to be a Councillor. Hysterical.
[quote][p][bold]Hawthorne[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Kim Gandy[/bold] wrote: Are there no penalties for breaching conservation area rules? If not, there ought to be. If Basildon Council slashed its useless chief executive Bala Mahendran's vast phone number salary, they could spend the money instead on compulsory purchase, take over the property and do it up sympathetically and use it for some purpose that would benefit the people of the Basildon district.[/p][/quote]CPOs are for very specific requirements, usually for public works for utilities or transport reasons and normally mandated by an act of Parliament. It's not going to happen for a cottage in a high street just because it's a shame to lose it.[/p][/quote]Oh dear Ms Gandy has yet again shown that she doesn't know what shes talking about. To think that she claims she used to be a Councillor. Hysterical. cropped hero
  • Score: 2

11:58am Thu 28 Aug 14

sesibollox says...

Didn't this building used to be Old Fany Larkins jewel in the crown dream ? ?
Didn't this building used to be Old Fany Larkins jewel in the crown dream ? ? sesibollox
  • Score: 3

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