The Conversion 2003-2004
Originally built as a livestock shed between 1888 and 1907, 'The Piggery' had been redundant for several years, housing only some simple compost toilets, and was losing slates and becoming derelict. The renovation to a dwelling house began in autumn 2003, and was completed in 2004. All original openings were retained, and just two small window openings added. The roof height was raised slightly, reclaimed slates were used, and four roof-lights were added on the south side. It was done without planning permission.
Planning Application 2005
The application to Caradon District Council was made retrospectively in January 2005. The Parish Council supported the application, and it was recommended for approval by Planning Committee West in July 2005, but the full Council, on the advice of the Assistant Head of Planning not to make a decision contrary to the views of English Heritage, refused the application in September 2005.
Listed Building Status
In October 2005, Caradon District Council informed us that, based on the view of Francis Kelly of English Heritage, they now considered The Piggery, and all of our buildings and surrounding land, to be 'Curtilage Grade 11* Listed', owing to our proximity to Keveral Barton, the former manor house. This was listed in 1964, at which time it was in a neglected state, consisting of three rented cottages.
(In previous planning applications, Caradon had made no reference to us being listed, and in 2004, their Conservation Officer stated that we were not listed).
The Enforcement Notice 2006
Caradon DC issued an Enforcement Notice in May 2006, giving us six months to “reinstate the building to its original form, design, appearance and internal floor layout”, including dropping the roof height, removal of all doors and windows, and removal of all internal fittings. They were asking us to effectively demolish it, return it to a redundant agricultural building, and in the process, make a family of five homeless.
The Appeal 2007
We lodged an appeal against this decision, and the Public Inquiry was held in Liskeard on February 7th and 8th 2007. Our advocacy team consisted of our barrister Melissa Murphy, Peter Rainier (Chartered Town Planner) of DMH Stallard (Brighton), Rob Homewood (Chartered Architect) of Falmouth, and Bill Knight of Keveral Farm.
The Decision 2007
The Planning Inspector ruled in our favour: "The appeal is allowed, the enforcement notice is quashed, and planning permission is granted....."
The listed building enforcement notice was also quashed. He adjudged that The Piggery was not “ancillary or subordinate” to Keveral Barton at the time of listing, and therefore is not within its curtilage. The Piggery, and therefore none of our property, is curtilage listed.
The main grounds for approval was the provision of affordable housing (which is now Caradon DC's “top corporate priority”), and encouraging sustainable development (which is “central to current national guidance”). The Inspector quoted an ecological footprint study that showed that Keveral's footprint was 38% of the south-west average.
The Inspector also awarded us partial costs, because of the Council's mistake in classing us as curtilage listed, and not revising their decision in the light of evidence submitted by us. He stated that "the English Heritage opinion was flawed", and "I consider that the Council's listed building enforcement action was founded on a serious misunderstanding of clearly established principles of law".
Our two local parish councils (St.Martin-by-Looe and Deviock) supported us, together with 35 local people who wrote letters of support, along with 22 other people from further afield.