A Yorkshire businessman has been left ruing his actions after being ordered to pay over £40,000 in fines and costs for carrying out substantial building work on a historic property without the required Listed Building consent.
Richard Sykes, director of West Parks Services Limited, pleaded guilty to six planning offences at Harrogate Magistrates Court on Tuesday 29th April. The prosecution was instituted by Harrogate Borough Council for beach of the Listed Buildings Act 1990, after Mr Sykes carried out extensive works at the Grade II listed Copt Hewick Hall, in Copt Hewick, near Ripon.
The property, which was built in 1780, was purchased by Mr Sykes mother, Valeria Sykes, in December 2011. Following the purchase, Mr Sykes instructed and project managed the work which harmed the special architectural and historical character of the house. Despite repeated warnings from Harrogate Borough Council to stop the work as he did not have the requisite permission, Mr Sykes continued his renovation of the property for a period of over 17 months.
Richard Sykes and his firm, West Park Services Limited, and builder Nicholas Hull and his company, Thermotech Building Maintenance Limited, all admitted breaching the Listed Buildings and Conservation Act.
Richard Sykes was fined £26,010 and ordered to pay £14,000 in costs, while West Park Services Limited was fined £14,010, and ordered to pay £12,000 costs. Nicholas Hull was fined £2,660 and ordered to pay £3,000 in costs, while Thermotech Building Maintenance Limited were fined £6,000 and ordered to pay £7,000 costs.
Additionally, Ian Saddington of Derrick Kershaw Partnership, who arranged for windows to be removed from the Gardener’s Cottage, a listed building in the grounds, is to be formally cautioned for his involvement in the works that are contrary to the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.
Dave Allenby, Harrogate Borough Council’s Head of Planning and Development said: The Listed Buildings Act is in place to protect the historical significance of relevant properties. Richard Sykes, Nicholas Hull, and their respective businesses showed a flagrant disregard of this act through their actions.
Mr Sykes decided to ignore repeated warnings from Harrogate Borough Council and continue with his renovation plans, while Mr Hull, undertook work when he was aware that the required Listed Building consent had not been applied for, let alone granted. The extensive building work which was undertaken took place over an extensive period of time, and resulted in the historic integrity of Copt Hewick Hall being seriously eroded.
It was important that Harrogate Borough Council acted swiftly to ensure that those responsible were prosecuted for their destructive activity. This case will also serve as a deterrent to people in the future who think they can take such action, without having to face any consequences. As this case shows, such behaviour will undoubtedly have severe consequences.