ROOF lights installed in a 300-year-old Grade II-listed home were done so without proper permission, an inspector has found.
Homeowner Richard Harry has claimed the lights, which can be opened, are the only way to escape the house in an emergency, and it was accepted the roof had been replaced due to fire damage in the early 1990s.
But it has been ruled the “modern and uncharacteristic features” which open above the roof slopes at the back of the house are “detrimental” to the otherwise unspoiled historical building which has a “mid-century extension”.
Independent planning inspector Anthony Thickett upheld a decision by Monmouthshire County Council that the work to New House Farm in Llangybi had been carried out in breach of the permission needed for alterations to a listed building.
He said the house, which dates to around 1700, had been given special protection as it is a near-perfect example of those from the period.
His report stated: “The building has been listed Grade II star due to its ‘fine design and exceptionally unaltered state including such features as original doors and ironmongery. This house is a classic example of its type’.”
Mr Harry was granted listed building consent but was required to agree the final details for the lights in the sloping roofs with the council, which was not done resulting in it formally refusing permission in December 2021. The council said the windows should open no more than 25mm above the slate roof.
In an appeal to Planning and Environment Decisions Wales Mr Harry asked to be allowed to keep the roof lights as fitted, including one to the extension, which replaced a glass tile which sat in the slate roof but did not open. It was claimed this was leaking but the inspector said he’d seen no reason why a “like for like” repair wasn’t possible.
The appeal was dismissed by Mr Thickett who visited the property in December 2022 and found: “As fitted the rooflights are significant and adverse interruptions in the historic plain and simple form of the roofs, to the detriment of the special architectural and historic interest of New House Farm.”
He added: “The harm caused by the extent to which the frames protrude above the roof slopes provides compelling grounds to dismiss this appeal.”