Roof tile guards allowed on nationally important country house

Tile guards installed to the rear roof eaves of a grade I listed Elizabethan building in the Berkshire countryside were allowed for a temporary period only and in the public interest, but with acknowledged limited harm to the special interest of the building.

The grade I listed court house was used for children’s educational purposes and as a wedding venue. It was recognised as one of the largest and most important timber-framed houses in the country, according to its listing description, and the inspector believed it to be of exceptional quality. The proposed works would entail fitting mesh metal tile guards and brackets to some of the eaves of the house and all of the associated grade II listed barn to prevent roof tiles falling on to visitors and particularly children. The roofs of these buildings were clad in plain clay tiles but were very prominent features which the inspector held made an important contribution to their special architectural interest. He considered the proposed tile guards would amount to a form of clutter on the buildings, detracting from the simple appearance of the eaves and the pleasing sweep of the roof slopes. He held the works would adversely affect the roofscape and diminish the special architectural interest of the house and barn resulting in less than substantial harm to the significance of the buildings.

In weighing the public benefit of the proposals, the inspector felt they would be insufficient to outweigh the harm arising when viewing the very sensitive front and side elevations of the main house and all of the barn which sat in the foreground. However, he felt there was some limited scope for taking a slightly more flexible stance for the rear, less prominent elevation of the main house. In this regard, a temporary consent of 15 years for such works could go some way to alleviating the appellant’s fears regarding falling roof tiles whilst preventing any long-term harm to the significance of the grade I listed building. 

Inspector: Neil Pope; Written representations

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