The retrospective application was made after a “concerned neighbour” notified Historic Scotland about the new work. Speaking after the meeting, planning committee chairman Frank Robertson said that now Historic Scotland had the house “in their sights”, the applicant would be forced to remove the new work at his own expense. Mr Robertson added the windows were “totally unacceptable”.
Two planning applications which would change the appearance of listed buildings have been rejected by the planning committee – and could mean one home owner ripping out work already done.
Applicant Nigel Timberlake had submitted a retrospective planning application to install new railings and basement windows at Varis House, formerly known as the Bonavista guest house.
But planning officials deemed the work was not in character with the originals in the B-listed building, which is in the Lerwick conservation area on the corner of Church Road and Greenfield Place.
The planning committee meeting heard that both listed building consent and planning permission should have been obtained before the work was started, but no advice was sought.
Attention should have been given to “preserving or enhancing the character and appearance of the area”, according to planning officer Dawn Stewart.
Although no record of the previous railings exist, the newly-repaired railings had a “mixed section” of metals, were of varying design with some on the right hand side being simply “rods” and one on the left hand side missing.
The basement windows, replaced because of leakage, were now of uPVC, Ms Stewart said, and instead of the “16-pane timber sash and case” windows the panes were now “one [pane] over one”.
According to Ms Stewart: “This is not in keeping with the character or historic fabric of the building and considered to be detrimental in terms of the aesthetic quality of the property and its architectural integrity.”
The committee upheld the planners’ recommendation to refuse the application, which is contrary to the Shetland local development policy.
The second case concerned replacing windows at Seafield House in Lerwick. The meeting heard that the applicants wanted new windows in the “sophisticated house” to replace the ones thought to be original from the construction date of 1833, primarily for energy efficiency.
However, it had not been proved the existing windows were beyond repair as no “condition survey” had been received by the planning department.
The application was recommended for refusal by planners and this was upheld by the committee.
However it was deemed that the application was “premature” because more information about the condition of the windows was needed – at this stage there was no alternative to refusal. The owners can make future applications.
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