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Agenda item

27 Whitehall Terrace - Replacement of Windows to Front - 181328


The Local Review Body then considered the third 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 front of the property at 85 Hamilton Place, Aberdeen, Planning Reference 181328DPP.


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 submitted Notice of Review was found to be valid and submitted within the relevant timeframes.


Mr Evans described the site,advising that it was a semi-detached 1.5 storey dwelling, situated on the southern side of Whitehall Terrace, at its junction with Craigie Park. The building was understood to date from the 1920s/30s and was constructed in granite with a slated roof and ‘catslide’ dormer at first floor level and a 3-part bay window below. Existing windows were formed in timber with a brown stained finish, and were of a casement opening type. The site was within the Rosemount and Westburn Conservation Area.


He explained that the application proposed the replacement of all windows on the front elevation of the property. The proposed windows were ‘rosewood’ brown coloured uPVC frames, which were of a casement opening type. Besides the introduction of uPVC, the central window in the ground floor bay would be slightly different, with a single fixed pane instead of the two fixed panes presently. The lower sections of the left and right-hand-bays would open, with fixed panes above.


Mr Evans indicated that the Appointed Officer’s reasons for refusal make reference to the following factors:-

  • The replacement of timber with uPVC on the principal elevation failed to demonstrate due regard for its context, and therefore failed to accord with policies D1 (Quality Placemaking by Design), D4 (Historic Environment) and H1 (Residential Areas) of the Aberdeen Local Development Plan;
  • The retention and reinstatement of traditional window forms and materials, or suitably sympathetic alternatives, was necessary to maintain and enhance the character of the conservation area;
  • The replacement of existing timber framed windows with modern frames, formed in uPVC and the presence of visible surface mounted trickle vents to the front faces, would have a negative impact on the character and appearance of the conservation area, and would therefore not align with Scottish Planning Policy and Historic Environment Scotland’s Policy Statement. Moreover, they did not accord with the Supplementary Guidance: The Replacement of Windows and Doors and Historic Environment Scotland’s Managing Change Document: Windows; and 
  • Approval would risk setting an unwelcome precedent for further unsympathetic window replacements within the conservation area which, could contribute to progressive erosion of its character and appearance, contrary to the aims of the Albyn Place/Rubislaw Conservation Area Character Appraisal.


In relation to the appellants case, Mr Evans advised that the submission contends as follows:-

·         Highlighted the vast majority of the surrounding properties already feature uPVC windows;

·         In this context, the replacement of the existing windows for uPVC replacements would not cause any negative impact on the Conservation Area;

·         In particular, highlighted that the adjoining semi at no 25 featured matching brown uPVC windows, so the appearance of the building as a whole would be improved;

·         Highlighted that modern uPVC windows in this finish were almost identical to real wood frames;

·         Noted that, if required to install wooden frames at 27, the two semis would remain mismatched; and

·         Concluded that the decision taken by the appointed officer was unreasonable as it would be to the detriment of the conservation area to have this mismatched appearance.



Mr Evans advised that no consultations were issued and no representations had been received.


Mr Evans explained that the applicant had expressed the view that further procedure was not required, and that the review may proceed without further procedure, however it was noted that in the submission the applicant also suggested that a site survey (taken to mean visit/inspection) may be appropriate.


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 Rosemount and Westburn 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 windows of the adjoining property and the style of the proposed window.

Members agreed unanimously to uphold the appointed officer’s earlier decision therefore planning permission was refused.


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 recognised that the existing windows are not original or of historic value, and therefore supports the principle of their replacement. In this particular instance, the introduction of brown uPVC frames was considered to be acceptable, and would bring some uniformity to this pair of semi-detached houses, provided that the window arrangement was a match for the adjoining property at 25 Whitehall Terrace. Nevertheless, the windows proposed were not considered to be of a sufficiently close match to those of the adjoining property, and therefore the Local Review Body decided that the application should be refused, but expressed its view that a revised proposal, incorporating a transom in the central part of the bay window to better match its adjoining neighbour, would be considered an acceptable replacement for the existing windows.


In conclusion, it was considered that the proposal in its current form would not accord with the relevant policies of the Local Development Plan, nor the Council’s ‘Repair and Replacement of Windows and Doors’ Supplementary Guidance.

-           COUNCILLOR MARIE BOULTON, Chairperson.