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UK Man Admits Demolishing Historic House

Thursday, September 29, 2016

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A U.K. man is facing a possible jail sentence after demolishing a 200-year-old building that was a listed landmark, and leaving an adjoining home in shambles in the process.

According to reports, David Eckersall has admitted he brought about the demolition of Nutter Cote Farm, a historic building in Thornton-in-Craven, about 35 miles northwest of Leeds, in England.

The demolition took place in late April and early May, while neighbors Joan and Geoff Peel, who lived in the adjoining Nutter Cote Cottage, were away from home. When the couple, who had lived in the house for 40 years, returned home from their vacation, they found that the neighboring house was destroyed and their own home had lost parts of a wall and roof.

'Of Special Interest'

Nutter Cote, comprising both homes, is a Grade II Listed Building, designated by the Department of Culture, Media and Sports under the Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas Act. It was first listed in 1988, according to Historic England records.

Grade II is one of three classes of Listed Buildings in the U.K., and comprises more than 90 percent of the more than 375,000 buildings designated as historic in the country. Grade II buildings are considered to be “of special interest,” which Grade II* buildings are “particularly important buildings of more than special interest,” and Grade I buildings are “of exceptional interest.”

Deemed Unsafe

According to reports at the time of the demolition, Eckersall had obtained permits in December 2015 to add an extension, demolish some previously built extensions, and add a garage and another outbuilding. The demolition that occurred went far beyond what had been permitted.

Joan and Geoff Peel reportedly had to move out of their home of decades after their insurance company deemed the historic building to be unsafe. Holes created by the demolition of the attached house were covered only with plasterboard, timbers and plastic sheeting, according to reports.

Plans to Rebuild

Earlier in September, local outlets reported that Eckersall applied for permission to replace the demolished house with a new building with "the same appearance and character as was previously considered by the planning authority."

Eckersall will go before magistrates again in nine weeks, where he could face up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to £5,000 (about $6,500), or the court could choose to instead refer his case to Crown Court, where a greater sentence could be handed down.

   

Tagged categories: Criminal acts; Demolition; Historic Preservation; Laws and litigation; Renovation

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