DC Casebook: Listed buildings - Reversible internal cafe changes allowed

A listed building enforcement notice has been partially upheld after an inspector ruled that external changes to a property in a west London conservation area are visually harmful.

The enforcement notice was directed against internal works at a cafe occupying a grade II listed building, including the boxing in of original 19th century shelves and cupboards. A marble counter had been covered in timber and modern shelving installed. The notice required the works to be removed and the original fittings reopened to view.

The inspector found that the use had changed its architectural character. However, she also remarked that it is often necessary to adapt old buildings to beneficial modern uses. As the original features remained in situ, a photographic record was available and the works could easily be reversed, she found these changes acceptable.

The notice also sought the removal of brown paint applied to the exterior. The inspector agreed that the paintwork was objectionable, contributing to the building's visual separation from the rest of the terrace. It harmed the character of the property and the conservation area and undermined the group value of other listed properties, she concluded.

DCS Number 100-064-669

Inspector Katie Peerless; Written representations

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