House in Gorebridge faces demolition

Tuesday October 27th 2020

Midlothian Council

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

A homeowner who ignored warnings to stop building his house after it breached planning permission faces having to tear it down.

A meeting of Midlothian Council’s Local Review Body was told that the house, on Kirkhill Terrace, Gorebridge, was much bigger than the one approved by planners for the site.

Peter Arsdorf, planning chief, told a virtual meeting that planning permission for a house had been given in 2018 but in December last year officers realised what was being constructed was not what had been approved.

He said that planning officers spoke to the owner at the time and work stopped.

However, he said when lockdown was in place and no council officers were being sent out to check on sites, builders returned to the site and completed the house.

And he revealed that a retrospective planning application for the larger home, which was refused earlier this year, did not include an additional large dormer window in the extended roof which had not even been put forward for planning permission.

The Local Review Body refused an appeal by the applicant David Allan against planners’ decision to refuse retrospective permission for the larger house.

Councillor Derek Milligan said he could not sympathise with the owner, who had “ploughed ahead” with the build regardless of advice.

He said: “We have an applicant who has quite simply ploughed on and ignored the advice of planners. The size of the development is humongous.”

Mr Arnsdorf told councillors that if they refused the appeal, the applicant faced choices.

He said: “They could go down the demolition route or amend the building to meet what was approved initially.

“There will have to be some demolition either way.”

Councillor Russell Imrie, chairing the committee, blasted the homeowner’s decision to continue with the build despite warnings.

He said: “They stopped for a while, Covid came along and people stopped going out, including council officers on site visits. At this time they called their builder and said: ‘Lets crack on.’”

Councillors Peter Smail and Dianne Alexander said they did not necessarily object to the changes to the house as were outlined in the revised application but changes were needed, including putting hedges in front of the house and the removal of the first-floor dormer window; however, the review body agreed that planning officers were right to refuse permission for the larger home.

The committee agreed to refuse the appeal on the ground set out by planning officers that it was an overdevelopment on the site.

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