The Supreme Court will this week hear a dispute over whether a pair of 18th century lead urns resting on limestone piers were ‘buildings’ on an application for listed building consent.
The background to the case of Dill (Appellant) v Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and another (Respondents) was that in 1973 the appellant’s father purchased Idlicote House, which had been designated a Grade II listed building in 1966.
He brought with him from his previous residences a pair of 18th-century lead urns resting on limestone piers and put them in the gardens.
On 30 June 1986 the urns and piers were individually listed.
The appellant came into ownership of Idlicote House in 1993 but was unaware of the listing. He sold the items for £55,000 at public auction in 2009.
In 2015 Stratford-on-Avon District Council told the appellant that listed building consent had been required for the removal of the items.
The council refused his application for consent and issued a listed building enforcement notice requiring the return of the items.
The appellant appealed against both decisions, contending that there had been no breach of listed building control because the items were not buildings within the meaning of s.1(5) of the Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act 1990, that the items should be de-listed, or consent given. The Inspector dismissed his appeals.
The appellant has lost in both the High Court and the Court of Appeal.
The issue for the Supreme Court is: “On an application for listed building consent, should the Planning Inspector consider whether the items listed were ‘buildings’; and(ii) what is the correct approach to determining whether the items are ‘buildings’?”
The case will be heard on 10 March by a panel comprising Lord Wilson, Lord Carnwath, Lady Arden, Lord Kitchin and Lord Sales.
John Hunter and Mark Howells of Kings Chambers are representing the council before the Supreme Court.
The set said the case has wider importance “as the Supreme Court will be considering the extent to which it is possible to challenge such notices on appeal on the ground of the alleged unlawfulness of an underlying administrative act (in this case the Secretary of State’s decision to list the piers and urns in 1986)”.