“Planning chief faces prison for illegal changes to home”

“A senior Conservative councillor is facing jail for illegally altering her grade II listed 14th-century cottage that was featured on the Channel 4 show Double Your House for Half the Money.

The £830,000 property was held up as a good example of how to renovate an old house. But Barby Dashwood-Morris, 70, had failed to get planning permission from Wealden district council, despite serving as chairwoman of the planning committee.

At Brighton magistrates’ court she admitted six of 22 charges of executing the demolition or alteration of a building affecting its listed character, including removing a barley twist banister and rail and replacing them with a glass panel and new handrail. Some of the alterations to the cottage in the East Sussex village of Hellingly were alleged to have been carried out while she was chairwoman of the committee. The alterations came to light when prospective buyers ordered a survey.

Dashwood-Morris said on the TV show it was “an example of how to turn an ancient Sussex hall into a home that meets all the comforts of modern living”.

She was bailed until a hearing later this month.”

Source: The Times (paywall)