Idlicote House: Man who sold urns wins Supreme Court challenge

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Idlicote HouseImage source, Michael Dibb/Geograph
Image caption,
Marcus Dill acquired Idlicote House and its urns in 1993

The owner of a Grade II-listed manor house has won a long-running legal battle over the £55,000 sale of two 18th Century urns.

After selling the urns in 2009, Marcus Dill was told he should not have done so because of the status of Idlicote House, near Stratford-upon-Avon.

Mr Dill, who acquired the house and urns in 1993, was then pursued through legal channels by the authorities.

The Supreme Court has now found he did nothing wrong by disposing of the urns.

They were originally at Wrest Park, near Silsoe, Bedfordshire, and were moved to several locations before arriving at Idlicote House in 1973.

It was designated a Grade II-listed building in 1966, and in June 1986 the urns - attributed to Flemish sculptor John van Nost - were added to its listing.

'Restores my faith in justice'

In 2014, Stratford-upon-Avon District Council wrote to Mr Dill to say its consent had been needed to sell the urns and threatened legal action.

He then applied for retrospective consent, which was refused, and in April 2016, the council issued an enforcement notice requiring the urns to be brought back to Idlicote House, Shipston-on-Stour.

Mr Dill appealed to the Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government (DHCLG) but was unsuccessful.

He took his case against the DHCLG to the High Court and the Court of Appeal but lost his challenge on both occasions.

Giving the Supreme Court's ruling, Lord Carnwarth said there was "no suggestion" that the urns were "related in any relevant way to the design of that particular listed building".

The court ruled that the enforcement appeal should be sent back to the DHCLG for redetermination.

In a statement after Wednesday's ruling, Mr Dill said: "I am delighted that the Supreme Court has upheld my appeal... and am pleased to have received a judgment that restores my faith in the British judicial system."

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