Property: A mansion's saving grace

THAT LOVELY listed building you see - restored and divided into elegant, easy-to-manage flats - might never have survived the developer's ball had it not been for two factors: large grounds and VAT exemption.

The grounds allow developers to build a small mini-estate of homes that hopefully blend in with the main house. And all repairs, renovations and conversion costs on listed buildings are exempt from 17.5 per cent VAT.

Even in these conservation-conscious times it is sometimes deemed more cost-effective to demolish an unlisted mansion and replace it with yet another scheme of soulless homes. So local authorities often offer the carrot of planning consent for a number of new homes in the spacious grounds surrounding a decaying unlisted house. But, make no mistake, permission would never be granted if there was no historic house to be preserved - listed or unlisted.

David Parry, of estate agents Cluttons Daniel Smith, says: "Developers wouldn't bother without the carrot of new build, because of the onerous VAT charges levied on conversions of unlisted buildings. Some intense lobbying is needed to rectify the ludicrous situation whereby solid but unlisted Victorian and Edwardian mansions are being demolished because the VAT levy could mean the difference between profit and loss."

Godfrey Winterson, of Hamptons International, advises developers on converting rural mansions and says: "The arguments in favour of preserving England's green and pleasant land are environmentally sound. But more should be done to actively encourage the conversion of many more redundant buildings around the country."

The finished product can prove spectacular. So much so that 38-year-old Trevor Herbert, site manager for Grade II* listed 18th century manor, Marley House, set in 60 acres near Totnes, in Devon, bought a three-bedroom ground-floor apartment in the main building for pounds 80,000.

He says: "It doesn't matter how traditional you try to make a new building look. It just won't have the mellow charm of the original although we are trying to replicate that in the new homes being built in the grounds. Because we have no VAT liabilities we have been able to spend that little bit more on restoration."

Jackson-Stops & Staff and Constables are selling the remaining Marley units at pounds 175,000.

Burton House, in West Sussex, is a Grade I listed Palladian mansion set in the 80-acre Burton Park estate. It is being converted into 12 apartments and there is permission for 33 homes in the grounds. Lord Tebbit's 33- year-old City banker son, William, and his wife, Vanessa 32, paid pounds 235,000 for a three-bedroom mews home - one of 10 set in the original walled garden, 200 yards from Burton House. He says: "Nowhere else could we buy a small modern house and share all this private parkland. There is a great village atmosphere and I feel I have contributed towards preserving a slice of our historic building heritage."

In contrast, Rudolf and Marlies Bak, both in their sixties, chose a grand ground-floor apartment.

Mrs Bak says: "We have the elegance of a grand country estate without the responsibility.."

Hamptons International is selling the remaining houses and apartments at Burton Park from pounds 195,000.

Jackson-Stops & Staff: 01392 214222; Constables: 01392 411917; Hamptons International: 01403 211766

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Cleaner

    £15000 - £16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you've got first class custo...

    Recruitment Genius: Mobile Applications Developer / Architect - iOS and Android

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a medium s...

    Recruitment Genius: Telesales Account Executive - £40K OTE

    £11830 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working in a friendly, sales ta...

    Recruitment Genius: Web Designer

    £15000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

    Day In a Page

    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
    10 best statement lightbulbs

    10 best statement lightbulbs

    Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
    Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
    Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

    Dustin Brown

    Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
    Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
    Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

    Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

    Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
    John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

    Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

    'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
    Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

    Forget little green men

    Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
    Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

    Dying dream of Doctor Death

    Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy