Midlothian homeowner allowed to replace windows as planning call overturned

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A local appetite for change has seen a homeowner allowed to replace traditional timber windows with new plastic frames.

Midlothian councillors overturned a decision by planners to refuse permission for the house in a modern Penicuik estate to have new uPVC windows.

And newly elected councillor David Virgo told a virtual meeting of the council’s Local Review Body “I wouldn’t want to be part of a council that sits on its ‘well that is how it has always been done’ stance.”

The review body heard planners had refused to give the go ahead for side and rear windows in the house in Tipperwell Way, Howgate, despite letters of support from neighbours.

Planning chief Peter Arnsdorf told the meeting the timber windows were secured as part of the ‘relatively new’ housing development which was now over ten years old.

And he said an application by the owner of another house on the estate to replace timber window frames with uPVC a few years earlier had been refused with the support of the review body.

Hwever Councillor Colin Cassidy said the local authority had relaxed its approach to uPVC in recent times, particularly when they were of a high enough quality.

He said: “One of the issues (in this case) is that a lot of the neighbours apparently are in support of this application which shows there may be an appetite to change the policy in that area, although I may be wrong in saying that.

“A lot of these windows you can not tell the difference if you step back ten feet – even if you get up close to them you can’t tell if they are wood or uPVC.

“I am quite comfortable as long as these windows are in-keeping with the neighbouring windows and you couldn’t tell the difference,  I wouldn’t have a problem.”

Fellow councillor David Virgo, agreed, adding that he: “wouldn’t want to be part of a council that sits on its ‘well that is how it has always been done’ stance.

“At some point things have to change so if there is this appetite locally for it and the local opinion is broadly in favour. I can’t imagine that many people are going to be closer than 10 feet to examine the windows. I am pretty comfortable with it.”

And Councillor Willie McEwen said: “As long as the profile and colour remains the same, particularly as it is a new development, council policy should be to allow materials of better quality.”

The Local Review Body was told a paper is due to come to the council’s planning committee looking at its current policy on uPVC.

Members unanimously agreed to uphold the appeal and allow the new frames to be installed.

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