gas->solid fuel restoration

We have bought a house that has a gas fire where an old open fireplace used to be (House built in 1915). We would like to convert this back to an open fireplace or, ideally, a woodburner. We will shortly be having the gas fire removed and will see how much space we have to play with in the chimney breast. We are in an area that permits smoke and have several neighbours that still use solid fuels.
However, before we start we have a couple of questions:
1) Our 'chimney' outside, is only a silver 'pipe' sticking out of the roof. The brick surround was found buried in the garden, we assume demolished after a storm some years ago. Will this need to be replaced or will the silver pipe suffice?
2) Will the liner used for the gas flue be suitable for a woodburner or open fire?
3) Are there any laws or regulations regarding the fitting of such equipment?
Finally, anybody in Barrow in Furness or near interested in doing this for us for whatever the going rate is?
Thanks in advance for any and all advice.
Tony Kenny
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