“Ugly” Pathhead cottage windows rejected by councillors

Friday September 16th 2022

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The new windows installed on the front of the cottage on Pathhead High Street


Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

The owner of a cottage in a conservation village has lost her appeal to keep new windows which open the ‘wrong way’ after they were branded “pretty ugly” by one councillor.

Avril Herron had applied for retrospective planning permission for the new windows installed in the front of her cottage, on Pathhead High Street.

However Midlothian planners turned down the application pointing out the way the new windows opened outwards instead of following the up and down of a traditional timber and sash window, which they said had a significant adverse effect on the conservation area.

The applicant appealed to the council’s Local Review Body arguing that a large number of different windows were in place in other properties in the area with the majority clearly not in the traditional form.

And while their argument was backed by some members of the review body who also pointed to the variety of windows in place, others insisted the style was a step too far.

Ward Councillor Peter Smaill told the review body: “This is the first township people see when they come to Midlothian from the south and the preservation of the character of the main street is quite important.

“We have become more flexible on uPVC but only if they are of high quality and reproduce the appearance that is appropriate to the place and sadly I think that is not achieved here.

“The real killer here is that the opening of the windows at the base is almost without precedent here and looks pretty ugly and on that basis I think we have to draw a line.”

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The windows on the front of the cottage before they were changed.

However Councillor Colin Cassidy questioned whether people passing through the town’s main street would even notice different windows.

He said: “I am up and down that road all the time and I’ve never noticed the different styles of windows.

“I don’f find it offensive or changing the character of the street and I do not think the general public driving by will give it a second glance.”

Earlier officials had refused retrospective planning permission saying: “Windows make a substantial contribution to the character, authenticity and physical integrity of most historic buildings and also to the character and interest of historic streets and places.

“They are an important element of a building’s design.

The review body was split by four votes each on the decision to uphold or reject the appeal but the casting vote went to chairman Councillor Russell Imrie who voted to refuse the appeal and uphold the planning officers decision.

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