AN investigation has been launched into work on a historic Leigh home that allegedly including removing original slate tiles and chimney pots off the roof.

Southend Council has confirmed planning officers are investigating a potential breach of planning rules at the home, in New Road, Leigh Old Town, after workers were seen on the roof.

According to residents, workers were seen removing tiles and chimney pots, while fire places and chimney breasts inside the former Fisherman’s Cottage.

The property is within the Leigh Conservation Area.

A council spokesperson said: “Whilst we cannot comment on planning enforcement cases specifically, we can confirm that we are aware of this site and that an enforcement investigation is underway.

“As residents would expect, we will use the powers available to us to address any breaches of planning controls where appropriate.”

Complicated - Carole Mulroney called for work to be investigatedComplicated - Carole Mulroney called for work to be investigated (Image: Newsquest)

Leigh councillor Carole Mulroney (pictured inset) called for work to be investigated but admitted it “is complicated” because of the conservation area.

She said: “It is a bit complicated because of the rules that do or do not apply in conservation areas. I’m still waiting for a definitive answer from the planners and from building control because they both have a part to play in it.

“From the planning point of view, it doesn’t look as if there is any contravention. I know they have got some sort of planning permission with something to do with the windows, but this is about the chimney.”

Ms Mulroney added: “I’m double checking whether there is a contravention on the building regulations.”

An unnamed resident said it appeared work had stopped on the building while planners investigate the work.

They said: “Builders have abandoned a historic building in the heart of Leigh Old Town after removing and smashing up irreplaceable slate tiles on the roof.

“They ceased work after enforcement action by planners, but it was too late to save the roof, or the two classic chimney pots demolished on Friday.”