Grade II wish-list

Burnham House, Park Street, Ripon - �945,000 with Knight Frank, 01423 530088.

Burnham House, Park Street, Ripon - �945,000 with Knight Frank, 01423 530088.

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If you’re looking for a property with character, a fairly reliable indicator of age and quality is listed building status.

Listed buildings – so called because they are included on a list compiled by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport – are buildings of architectural or historic interest, and they range from monuments to milestones, castles to phone kiosks.

Highbury House, Boston Spa - �560,000 with Beadnall & Copley, 01937 580850.

Highbury House, Boston Spa - �560,000 with Beadnall & Copley, 01937 580850.

Demolishing or changing the character of a listed building by altering it without authorisation is a criminal offence punishable by an unlimited fine and/or up to 12 months’ imprisonment.

The good news is that routine maintenance doesn’t need listed building consent, so long as appropriate materials are used, and where approved alterations are carried out, this work may be zero-rated for VAT.

What’s more, potential sources of heritage grant funding can be found on the Funds for Historic Buildings website (www.ffhb.org.uk), which is maintained by the Architectural Heritage Fund.

The duty of stewardship, which requires owners to care for their buildings and pass them on to future generations in good order, is the price buyers must bear for being entrusted with a piece of the nation’s built heritage. Then again, most would also agree it’s a price worth paying.

Orchard House, Galphay - �475,000 with Hopkinsons, 01423 501201.

Orchard House, Galphay - �475,000 with Hopkinsons, 01423 501201.

There are about 2,850 listed buildings in the Harrogate district. Of these, only 50 have Grade I status, and around twice as many have Grade II* listing. The rest have Grade II status, and include the following four properties, which are all currently for sale.

Orchard House (below) is an unusually pretty, detached Georgian property in Galphay, near Ripon.

Described in the brochure as having “distinctive old-world charm”, it certainly has plenty of period features, including beams, wooden floors, sash windows, stone-flagged dining room and feature fireplaces. Outside, there are gardens and a useful outbuilding with two storage areas, as well as private parking for two cars.

Similarly rustic is Swallow Cottage (bottom pic) at Hartwith, in the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which has also has stone mullioned windows.

Swallow Cottage, Stripe Lane, Hartwith - �665,000 with Dacre, Son & Hartley, 01423 711010.

Swallow Cottage, Stripe Lane, Hartwith - �665,000 with Dacre, Son & Hartley, 01423 711010.

But one of the main attractions of the three-bedroom property is what it offers externally: an excellent yard adjoining the house, with stables, a tack room and a double garage, all set in nearly seven acres of grazing land, with beautiful views towards Harrogate.

In Boston Spa, by contrast, Highbury House (top pic) offers Georgian refinement with contemporary interiors.

Dating from 1820, its living spaces, which include four bedrooms and three reception rooms, have the high ceilings and large windows you’d hope for in a property of its vintage, as well as useful storage cellars. Outside, there is a south-facing garden with terrace, and off-street parking.

Finally, Burnham House (main pic) is a similarly elegant Georgian property within walking distance of Ripon city centre.

Lovingly restored by the present owners during their 12-year ownership, it has five bedrooms and three reception rooms, as well as a study, library and large studio space.

Its gardens, which abut playing fields, extend to 0.75 acres and include lawns, terracing, pond and vegetable garden, as well as integral garage and gravel driveway.