|Property expert Sarah Beeny under fire over restoration project|
|Sunday, 20 November 2011 04:00|
Sarah Beeny, the television property expert, has been criticised by a local councillor for carrying out major renovations on her Grade II listed mansion without planning permission.
The presenter's struggle to restore 97-room Rise Hall, near Skirlaugh, East Yorks, and convert it into a wedding venue has been the subject of a television documentary, Beeny's Restoration Nightmare.
But the high-profile nature of the project attracted the attention of East Riding councillor Matthew Grove, who questioned why she had not applied for the relevant permissions and declared that she would not get special treatment.
"It strikes me as rather strange that other people struggle to make the smallest changes to their listed property but Ms Beeny has been allowed to make huge renovations without the consent in place," he said.
"The first I knew about any of this building work was when I saw the first television programme.
"I am happy to support the work Ms Beeny is carrying out but only if she does it properly."
He insisted he had been supportive of the restoration project but said there were various outstanding issues including fire and safety concerns.
"I have been very supportive of Ms Beeny's attempts to restore Rise Hall but my concern remains over the lack of listed building consent," he told Hull Daily Mail.
Mr Grove raised concerns over the project earlier this year, when it emerged that Beeny and her husband, Graham Swift, had been living in the mansion for a decade without seeking residential planning permission.
He said it was "inconceivable" that the couple had not adhered to planning laws while most people had to "jump through any number of hoops to get even the smallest extension approved".
Although the second series of the Channel 4 show begins next week, Beeny, 39, has admitted she is considering selling the former convent, purchased in 2001 for £441,101, because of ongoing planning disputes.
She suggested that East Riding Council was no longer supportive of the restoration project and did not understand her aims.
"We weren't expecting such objections as we'd had a lot of support from the conservation officer in the past," she said.
"He knew the property and had seen it in its darkest moments but, sadly, he retired last year and the other people hadn't, so didn't understand what we wanted to do.
"I think both of us feel we could sell it now and it wouldn't be a terrible thing for Rise Hall, whereas if we'd got out before, we would have felt we were letting it down somehow.
"Arguing with the council hasn't helped. They may be happier to deal with new people and I don't want Rise Hall to suffer."
The council defended its stance and insisted it was trying to work with Beeny to resolve the outstanding issues.
"Renovation works on a building of this scale and nature are always complex and the council has consistently offered help and support to Ms Beeny and dealt with her in the same way as we would anyone else in a similar situation," a spokesman said.
A council source added: "The bottom line is that this self-proclaimed property expert had just gone ahead and done all this without the relevant permissions and we are now having to row back and sort it all out retrospectively."
Source: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/ by By Victoria Ward, Date 15th Oct 2011Quote this article on your site
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Property expert Sarah Beeny under fire over restoration project
Sunday, 20 November 2011
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