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
Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
football
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Arts and Entertainment
Beast would strip to his underpants and take to the stage with a slogan scrawled on his bare chest whilst fans shouted “you fat bastard” at him
musicIndie music promoter was was a feature at Carter gigs
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
News
Performers dressed as Tunnocks chocolate teacakes, a renowned Scottish confectionary, perform during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
news
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Sport
Arsenal signing Calum Chambers
sportGunners complete £16m transfer of Southampton youngster
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

    Salesforce Developer

    £500 - £700 per day: Harrington Starr: Salesforce APEX Developer APEX, Classe...

    Market Access Analyst (FIX 5.0, Equities, Derivatives)

    Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Market Access Analyst (FIX On-boarding, FIX 5.0,...

    Nursery Nurse

    £7 - £8 per hour: Randstad Education Leeds: Nursery Nurse Level 3 or above Ear...

    Special Needs teacher

    £90 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Special Need teachers required t...

    Day In a Page

    The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

    The air strikes were tragically real

    The children were playing in the street with toy guns
    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

    Britain as others see us

    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
    Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

    Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

    Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
    How did our legends really begin?

    How did our legends really begin?

    Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
    Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
    A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

    A new Russian revolution

    Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
    Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
    Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

    Standing my ground

    If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
    Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

    Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

    The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
    The man who dared to go on holiday

    The man who dared to go on holiday

    New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

    For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
    The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

    The Guest List 2014

    Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
    Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

    Jokes on Hollywood

    With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on