Agenda item

20190678 - 2 Portland Villas, Windmill Street, Gravesend DA12 1LQ

Decision:

Resolved that application be DEFERRED to a future meeting of the Board to enable negotiations to take place in relation to the replacement of the existing uPVC sash windows on the second floor bay between Council’s Planning Manager (Development Management) and Conservation Officer and the applicant and/or applicant’s agent to address the Board’s concerns with regard to the design of the proposed upper floor bay windows.

Minutes:

The Board considered an application reference 20190678 for the retention of the uPVC casement windows at first floor level and replacement of uPVC sash windows with uPVC casement windows at second floor level on the front elevation at 2 Portland Villas, Windmill Street, Gravesend DA12 1LQ.

The Planning Manager (Development Management) advised that the application proposed the retention of recently installed front uPVC windows at first floor level and to replace the existing slim-line sash uPVC windows at second floor level with thicker framed tilting uPVC. Whilst the Conservation Area exhibited a limited number of examples of unsympathetic and uncharacteristic uPVC windows, which had generally been installed without the benefit of planning permission, the proposed windows would serve to present a further diminution of the quality of character and appearance, and would not preserve or enhance the Conservation Area in which they were located. The development would therefore conflict with the objectives of Policy TC3 of the Gravesham Local Plan First Review 1994, Policies CS19 and CS20 of the Core Strategy 2014 and paragraph 192 of the National Planning Policy Framework 2019. As such it was considered that this planning application should not be supported. The Planning Manager (Development Management) displayed a range of photographs of all buildings on the north and south side of Windmill Street. It was noted that most of the replacement windows, whether they were sympathetic or otherwise had been installed without the benefit of planning permission. The cumulative effect of the unsympathetic changes to the buildings was considered to be eating away at the quality of buildings in the Conservation Area.

The application had been referred for consideration by the Board by Cllr Steve Thompson.

The Board heard the views of the public speaker who answered questions from Members.

The following points were made during discussion on this application:

·         The Board noted that the applicant was unaware that the property was within a Conservation Area and was the subject of an Article 4 Direction. uPVC replacement windows had been installed in the ground floor windows before the applicant bought the property.

·         Members were advised that many residents were unaware that their properties were within the Windhill Hill Conservation Area. The local search would include this information and the buyer’s solicitors should pass this onto their clients. Some surprised was expressed as many estate agents used the fact that the property was within a Conservation Area as a selling point.

·         Some Members considered that uPVC windows did not detract or cause harm to the Conservation Area it they were sympathetic in design (faithful fenestration) and correctly installed.

·         The Board was advised that the replacement windows in this property had only come to the Council’s notice when planning officers visited as a result of a planning application for the installation of a driveway.

·         A consideration was put forward that whilst Conservation Areas and Listed Buildings should be protected, the progression of technology and changing manufacturing techniques also meant that the a sympathetic, in character  effect could be achieved using different materials to those originally used.

·         It was suggested that the applicant be allowed to keep the replacement windows in the bay window on the first floor and the decision on the replacement of the bay window on the second floor ne deferred to allow the applicant to consult with the appropriate Council officers with regard to a more sympathetic sash design.

·         Some concern was expressed with regard to the suggested use of uPVC as wooden frames had been used in the original build of the Villas and some Members felt that owners should be encouraged to return to what had been installed with the property was first built..

·         A suggestion was made that the existence and associated restrictions of Conservations Areas including Article 4 Directions be highlighted by way of an article in “Your Borough”.

·         Members were reminded of a previous meeting of the Board in May 2019 when the Board was advised although the Council’s Conservation officer preferred timber replacement windows of suitably designed proportions, he accepted the uPVC could also be used in a sympathetic way.

Resolved that application be DEFERRED to a future meeting of the Board to enable negotiations to take place in relation to the replacement of the existing uPVC sash windows on the second floor bay between Council’s Planning Manager (Development Management) and Conservation Officer and the applicant and/or applicant’s agent to address the Board’s concerns with regard to the design of the proposed upper floor bay windows.

Note:   Ms Han Ebcin (Agent)(a supporter) addressed the Board.

 

Supporting documents: