East Lothian neighbours lose fight for UPVC windows

Monday March 25th 2024


Neighbouring properties on North Berwick's Forth Street lost appeal over refusal of plans for UPVC windows.

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

Two neighbours have lost their fight to replace wooden window frames with plastic after a Greens councillor questioned whether they were better for the environment.

The residents of Forth Street, in North Berwick, appealed after they were refused permission to put UPVC frames and doors on their modern properties in the conservation town after planners ruled it would be ‘harmful’ to the character of the area

However a meeting of East Lothian Council’s Local Review Body last week rejected their appeal with Scottish Greens Councillor Shona McIntosh saying there was ‘no evidence’ the modern material was better.

She told the meeting: “There is an assumption through the applications that UPVC is better for the environment but there is no evidence for this.

“It is not locally sourced, harder to repair and can’t be recycled at its end of life.”

The residents had brought their appeals separately before the review body both pointing out other properties in their street already had UPVC frames installed.

And they argued the new frames would help protect their homes from the “winter winds and gales” which buffer their homes from the Firth of Forth.

In one appeal statement, the home owner, who said she was a pensioner, stated: “We have had Care and Repair repeatedly attempt to insulate windows and doors yet the rains still saturate the wooden frames which shrink in the summer then swell in winter. UPVC will not shrink and swell but fit consistently all year round.”

She added: “Our properties were built in 1993 therefore are historically insignificant but aim to present an attractive element in a street which serves as a through route, not a tourist stop”.

The other applicant pointed to the council’s own climate change policy arguing the new UPVC is more energy efficient than the current wooden frames they want to replace.

They urged councillors to look at samples of the ‘wooden grain’ style of UPVC they both propose for their adjoining homes.

Both application to were rejected by planners last year because they would be “be harmful to the character and appearance” of both the buildings and the conservation area.

Councillor McIntosh said she would be backing officers and rejecting the appeals by the residents.

She said: “I understand why people think it will be more energy efficient and is better for the environment but I cannot see the case has been made, so I will be supporting officers.”

The review body rejected appeals for both applications by two votes to one with Councillor McIntosh and Councillor Andy Forrest backing planners and Councillor Jeremy Findlay backing the appeals.

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