THE owner of a listed cottage has been told to remove his newly thatched roof because it is four inches higher than his neighbour’s.
Jack Tasker spent £13,000 on having his 16th century cottage in Preston St Mary rethatched by a craftsman.
He said: “It was planned to be a joint job with my neighbour, but she preferred to go it alone.”
Her thatcher put a thinner thatch on, but Mr Tasker said his was a ‘quality job’ in the right style for the area.
But he says he had a letter out of the blue from Babergh District Council saying that because the roof was higher he needed a listed building consent, so the new thatch must be removed.
He added: “I must have written 20 letters to the council about it. They don’t answer your arguments. It’s really quite ridiculous.
John Bangs, a former chairman of the East Anglian Master Thatchers’ Association, said: “There’s nothing wrong with the roof. It’s thatched in long straw in the indigenous style, a first class job.”
Mr Bangs said it was normal for there to be height variations on neighbouring thatched buildings because the material withered and there were no building regulations on thatch thickness. He offered to explain to council officials ‘how thatch works’ in a bid to save public money.
A council spokesman said: “Mr Tasker has sought to justify the works he has carried out and has been advised that the appropriate mechanism to do this is by making the listed building consent application. He has chosen not to.
“Whilst Mr Tasker may be concerned about the quality of the workmanship at the neighbouring property, this does not require listed building consent. Therefore, we are not in a position to progress any further actions against that property.”