UPVC windows must go as Dalkeith appeal fails

Thursday March 2nd 2023


The new UPVC windows on the top floor can be seen in contrast with the first floor windows which still need to be replaced and are clearly in poor condition.

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Marie Sharp

A landlady has been ordered to rip out 16 UPVC windows installed in a listed building after they were ruled to have harmed its “architectural and historic interest.”

Gloria Silvestri lodged an appeal with Scottish Ministers after Midlothian Council issued an enforcement order demanding the windows were removed as they did not have listed building planning consent.

Mrs Silvestri argued that she had replaced 11 windows in the flatted property on Dalkeith High Street “as a matter of urgency” to protect the health of tenants living in it.

And she received support from Midlothian MSP Colin Beattie, who said the current energy crisis meant the new windows helped tenants by reducing costs in their homes.

However the Scottish Government Reporter yesterday dismissed her appeal against the enforcement action after visiting the building.

Advising of the decision, the Reporter said: “I have found that the works have harmed the architectural and historic interest of the listed building and harmed the character and appearance of the conservation area.

“The requirements of the notice to remove those harmful windows and replace with windows that match the original windows removed is therefore not excessive: the steps are necessary to restore the building to its condition before the works were carried out.”

It had been claimed by representatives for Ms Silvestri that she had replaced only 11 windows with UPVC alternatives, however the Reporter said it was clear 16 had been replaced – and all 16 would have to be removed by the owner.

Her representatives said the decision to replace the original timber windows with UPVC alternatives had been “in the interests of the health of the tenants, and preservation of the building.”

And they insisted Mrs Silvestri did not realise listed building consent was needed for the action in what was an “honest mistake.”

They said: “The original windows were poorly deteriorated, causing issues with draft-proofing and damp. The windows provided a poor barrier for sound and damp ingress and also performed poorly in terms of thermal efficiency.

“The resulting cost of heating was therefore high in both environmental and financial terms.

“The original windows were beyond repair and not suitable for upgrade to double glazing. It was for this reason a replacement was carried out to create a more habitable environment for the tenants.”

However the council issued an enforcement notice calling on the building owners to “remove all UPVC windows of the property and replace them with white painted timber frame, sash and case windows which match the removed timber windows.”

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