Window upgrade plans to cut heating bills denied by council bosses over heritage and conservation concerns

Heritage concerns have scuppered plans to upgrade windows at a property in East Boldon

Earlier this year, South Tyneside Council’s planning department received an application to install uPVC windows above part of the L & S Irving Ltd retail store, in Front Street.

This included a bid for the “replacement of windows and restoration of window surrounds and detailing”, with the existing windows are in “serious disrepair”

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It was hoped double glazed replacements would provide a “pragmatic solution” and improve efficiency, while also providing “vibrant freshness” to the street.

Front Street, East Boldon Picture
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During council consultation on the plans, no responses were received from neighbours or the East Boldon Neighbourhood Forum.

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But after considering the planning application, the borough council’s planning department refused permission last month (October).

In a decision report, local authority planners said installing double glazed uPVC framed windows at the front of the property would result in an “unacceptable level of harm” to the building, as well as the wider East Boldon Conservation Area.

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Council planners also claimed the window works “could not be made acceptable with minor amendments” and argued the proposals would clash with both council policies and the recently-adopted East Boldon Neighbourhood Plan.

This document, which was approved by public vote, included policies which require development to “convey sensitive consideration of its surroundings” and to “protect, preserve and where possible enhance the character and appearance” of the conservation area.

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It was also noted that some other uPVC windows on Front Street were either “unauthorised” or had “no planning history”.

The council decision report added: “The installation of uPVC windows within the front elevation of the property, within a prominent location fronting Front Street, would result in an unacceptable level of harm, amounting to less than substantial harm to the character and appearance of the application property and the East Boldon Conservation Area, without suitable justification or public benefits to outweigh the harm caused.”

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The applicant has the right to challenge the council’s refusal decision by lodging an appeal with the Government’s Planning Inspectorate.

More information about the application and council ruling can be found via South Tyneside Council’s online planning portal.