In planning the actual architectural merit of a building often comes to personal choice. In Porthleven, buildings in the past have often been deemed to have no architectural merit during a planning application. Then because these buildings have no official protection, they are often knocked down, and replaced with new buildings.
This changes the historic and characteristics of an area. And in most cases in Porthleven not for the best. More protection can be given to a building is by some sort of official listing. This to most of us is known as a Listed Building, and comes in various levels. As follows:
- Grade I buildings are of exceptional interest, sometimes considered to be internationally important; only 2.5% of listed buildings are Grade I
- Grade II* buildings are particularly important buildings of more than special interest; 5.5% of listed buildings are Grade II*
- Grade II buildings are nationally important and of special interest; 92% of all listed buildings are in this class and it is the most likely grade of listing for a home owner.
Of course just because a building is listed it does not mean nothing can change, or replaced. However, a listed building will have more protection under the law. Under planning rules, it is not a criminal offence to make changes to a non-listed building. It is though a criminal offence to make changes to a listed building without planning consent. This is generally called Listed Building Consent.
A problem is which buildings should be listed? As I said before, the importance and look of a building is often interpreted differently. Also, you would think some building would be listed but are not; it may surprise you that New County Hall is listed as Grade II. For the record I think it is an ugly building.
The guidance on what should or not be listed is; all buildings built before 1700 which survive in anything like their original condition are listed, as are most of those built between 1700 and 1840. The criteria become tighter with time, so that post-1945 buildings have to be exceptionally important to be listed. A building has normally to be over 30 years old to be eligible for listing. More information can be found here via English Heritage.
It might surprise you, but there are 63 items/buildings in the Porthleven area, that are listed (note this also includes Penrose Estate, Methleigh and Antron Farm). Some obvious buildings are not listed, especially as they are historically important to Porthleven. Here is the list of buildings in the immediate are of Porthleven which are Grade II and Grade II*
- Chapel- keeper’s house immediately west of Methodist Church – 1883
- Memorial lamp to King George V -1911
- Torleven Farmhouse
- Methodist Chapel, Peverell Rd – 1863 rebuilding of earlier chapel; enlarged 1876.
- Torleven Farmhouse (Wellington Rd) -1818
- The Ship Inn 1800-1810
- Ring O’Bright Water, Loe Bar Rd
- Bay View Terrace, Nos 1-18 – 1902-1905
- Strawtop, Loe Bar Rd
- Wesley Chapel and attached schoolroom, Church Row – 1840
- Former smithy, now part of The Ship Inn
- China Clay store – 1893
- The Old Custom House – 1840
- Warehouse occupied by Salt Cellar -1816
- Mount Cottage, Holman’s Place
- Red telephone box, Harbour Head
- Lime Kiln -1816
- Warehouse occupied by Porthleven Harbour and Dock Co Ltd -1814
- 12 Chapel Terrace
- Harbour Inn
- Harbour walls including east & west wharfs, inner jetties and main pier
- The Bickford Smith Institute
- Methodist Church and forecourt wall, railings and gateway
The question is: should more buildings in Porthleven be given greater protection and listed? If so which ones? A further question is: would listing a building be fair on the currently owner? After all the owner could be maintaining that building in its traditional form, so they could argue that it is an unnecessary and financial burden on them. However, this building could be sold, and the next owner does not feel the same way.
Anyone can put forward a building, archaeological site, park, garden, battlefield or wreck site for designation. Equally, anyone can apply for the amendment or de-designation of an existing heritage asset.
Now the last question is should an individual, the town council, or Cornwall Council via some sort of consultation apply for any additions, or amendments to the listed building list? It would be great to hear any view you have on this subject even if you don’t live in Porthleven because the principle is the same to other areas.
To find out which buildings in your area are lists (or not) click HERE