85 Hamilton Place - Installation of Replacement Windows - 180950
- Meeting of Local Review Body of Aberdeen City Council, Thursday, 29th November, 2018 11.00 am (Item 2.)
- View the background to item 2.
The Local Review Body then considered the second request for a review to evaluate the decision taken by an appointed officer under the Council’s Scheme of Delegation to refuse the application for the installation of replacement windows to the property at 85 Hamilton Place, Aberdeen, Planning Reference 180950DPP.
The Chairperson advised that the LRB would again be addressed by Mr Gavin Evans and reminded members that although Mr Evans was employed by the planning authority he had not been involved in any way with the consideration or determination of the application under review and was present to provide factual information and guidance to the Body only. She emphasised that the officer would not be asked to express any view on the proposed application.
In relation to the application, the LRB had before it (1) a delegated report by Alex Ferguson, Planner; (2) the planning application dated 11 June 2018; (3) the decision notice dated 30 August 2018; (4) links to the planning policies and plans referred to in the delegated report; and (5) the Notice of Review submitted by the applicant including a supporting statement with further information relating to the application.
The LRB was then addressed by Mr Evans who advised that the review had been submitted with all necessary information within the time limit of three months following the decision of the appointed officer, however he then indicated that new evidence presented by the applicant in the form of (1) a letter dated 21 November 2018 which made reference to planning approval for a neighbouring property; and (2) a new drawing showing a different window had been submitted and therefore required approval from the LRB to accept the letter as part of the proceedings.
Ms Christie, Legal Advisor indicated that the new information, which was not before the planning officer, could only be taken into account where (a) that the matter could not have been raised before that time; or (b) that it not being raised before that time was a consequence of exceptional circumstances.
The Local Review Body agreed to accept the letter in to the proceedings as they were satisfied that the information could not have been submitted earlier, however they did not agree to accept the new drawing into the proceedings.
Mr Evans described the site, advising that the property in question was a detached 2½ storey granite building of traditional style on the southern side of Hamilton Place. The building fronts onto Hamilton Place, but its western gable bounds an unnamed rear lane which runs from Hamilton Place to Desswood Place, and was characterised by garages serving properties on Blenheim Place and Fountainhall Road. The upper floor and roof level of number 85 Hamilton Place’s rear elevation were visible from this lane. The building was within the Albyn Place/Rubislaw Conservation Area.
Mr Evans indicated that this application proposed the replacement of windows on the building’s rear elevation which included two windows at ground floor level, two at first floor level, and six within the former window on the rear slope of the roof.
Mr Evans explained that the appointed officer’s report described the existing windows as being timber ‘two-over-two’ sash and case units, however having reviewed this in light of the applicant’s comments in their submission, it appeared that in fact the windows within the dormer were timber sash-and-case, and the first floor units appear to currently be uPVC.
He advised that members have the option to undertake a site visit should they consider it necessary to establish the nature of all existing windows.
He intimated that the proposed replacement windows would be sash and case units formed in UPVC. The officer’s report noted that the specifications provided of the proposed window did not demonstrate whether the dividing astragal would fully separate the upper and lower sashes, or whether it would be a stuck-on faux astragal.
Mr Evans made reference to the appointed officer’s decision and the reasons for refusal were outlined in terms of the following factors:-
· Though of the same design and opening method was the existing units, the proposed uPVC replacements would not fully replicate the proportions of the existing windows;
· The unsympathetic windows proposed would be installed on a publicly visible elevation and it was considered that they would be inappropriate for the context and would thus have a detrimental impact on the character of the surrounding area and on the character and appearance of the wider conservation area;
· As a result, the application was contrary to Policies D1 (Quality Placemaking by Design), H1 (Residential Areas) and D4 (Historic Environment) of the Aberdeen Local Development Plan, as well as the general principles of Scottish Planning Policy, Historic Environment Scotland Policy Statement, Historic Environment Scotland’s ‘Managing Change in the Historic Environment: Windows’ guidance document and the Council’s supplementary guidance on The Repair and Replacement of Windows and Doors.
In terms of the appellant’s case, Mr Evans indicated that the submission contended as follows:-
· That the rear elevation of 85 Hamilton Place was not a ‘publicly visible’ elevation, and therefore should be assessed accordingly;
· Noted that ‘public elevation’ was not defined in the guidance;
· If assessed on the basis of being a non-public elevation, the Council’s Windows Supplementary Guidance indicated that it may be acceptable to have a different material or means of opening;
· Highlighted a number of examples of windows on rear elevations which vary in style, material and finishes (photos were included in submission);
· Noted that there are a number of instances of uPVC being present on front elevations;
· That the proposed windows successfully replicate the design, opening method and proportions of the existing windows – it was only the material that would change;
· Noted the officer’s concern in relation to the thickness of the bottom rail of the lower sash being inadequate and considered this to be a minor difference;
· Noted that the appointed officer recognised that the principle of replacing the existing windows was acceptable, subject to ensuring that replacements were of an appropriate design; and
· That the proposed replacements would not have a detrimental impact on the character or appearance of the Conservation Area.
Mr Evans advised that there were no consultations issued or objections/representations received.
Mr Evans indicated that the applicant had stated their satisfaction that no further procedure was required (site inspection or hearing session(s)), and that the Review may proceed on the basis of a review of the written submissions.
The Chairperson and Councillors Copland and Donnelly all indicated in turn that they each had enough information before them and therefore agreed that a site visit was not required and that the review under consideration should be determined without further procedure.
Mr Evans then outlined the relevant policy considerations, making reference to the following:-
· Aberdeen Local Development Plan 2017 - H1 – Residential Areas: Householder Development; D1 – Quality Placemaking by Design; and and D4 – Historic Environment;
· Windows and Doors Supplementary Guidance; and
· Householder Supplementary Guidance, particularly the ‘General Principles’.
Mr Evans advised that in determining the appeal, members should also take into consideration any material considerations they feel were relevant to the application that would point to either overturning the original decision or dismissing the review. In addition to the relevant policies from the development plan, the following would be material considerations:-
· Scottish Planning Policy (Conservation Areas);
· Historic Environment Scotland (HES) Policy Statement;
· Aberdeen City Council’s Great Western Road Conservation Area Character Appraisal and the overarching Management Plan for Aberdeen’s Conservation Areas; and
· HES Managing Change guidance on ‘Windows’.
Mr Evans intimated that should members wish to overturn the decision of the appointed officer, consideration should be given to any conditions which would be appropriate in order to make the proposal acceptable. However, all conditions must meet the six tests set out by Scottish Government policy.
Members asked some questions of Mr Evans, specifically relating to the condition and fabric of the existing windows and dormer.
Members agreed unanimously that the proposal was acceptable and therefore the Local Review Body’s decision was to overturn the decision of the appointed officer and approve the application conditionally.
In coming to their decision, the Chairperson indicated that there was no loss of historic fabric as the current windows were not original features and were currently uPVC, they were on a rear elevation and were of a suitable design.
Councillor Donnelly advised that the proposal would improve the existing situation and were located at the rear of the property.
Councillor Copland agreed that the proposal would be an improvement, and suggested that conditions regarding the lower base rail and the central bar of the windows be applied.
In coming to their decision, the Local Review Body had regard to the provisions of the development plan as required by Sections 25 and 37 of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act 1997 (as amended) and other material considerations in so far as these were pertinent to the determination of the application.
More specifically, the reasons on which the Local Review Body based this decision are as follows –
The Local Review Body established that there would be no loss of historic fabric, as the flat-roofed dormer window would have been a later addition and the windows being replaced in lower floors are not historic. The loss of existing uPVC windows in lower floors is not of concern, and the principle of introducing sliding sash-and-case replacements in uPVC was considered to be acceptable on this rear elevation, in accordance with the Council's 'Repair and Replacement of Windows and Doors' Supplementary Guidance. The views of this rear elevation were not considered to be sufficiently clear to prohibit the use of uPVC windows, and it was noted that such frames have been accepted elsewhere within the surrounding streets and the Conservation Area more widely. It was noted that the windows proposed would have a shallow bottom rail on the lower sash, and that cross-sections detailing the astragals were not provided to the appointed officer. It was therefore determined that conditions should be applied to the permission to require that these matters be addressed before works can be carried out.
1. that no development pursuant to this grant of planning permission shall be undertaken unless further plans and sections demonstrating that the bottom rail of the lower sash achieves a minimum of 75mm in thickness, and thereafter all works shall be carried out in accordance with the plans and sections so agreed - in order to ensure that the windows hereby approved adequately reflect the proportions of a traditional sash-and-case window; and
2. that no development pursuant to this grant of planning permission shall be undertaken unless plans and section drawings demonstrating the thickness, proportions and means of fixing of the central astragal bar to the approved windows have been submitted to and agreed in writing by the planning authority. Thereafter, windows shall not be installed other than in accordance with the details so agreed - in order to ensure that the replacement windows hereby approved adequately replicate the proportions of a traditional 'two-over-two' sash and case window.