The boundaries of Rothesay’s conservation area are to be reviewed as part of a re-examination by Argyll and Bute Council of whether its planning policies are flexible enough for the modern-day needs of the town.
A meeting of the authority’s planning, protective services and licensing committee on Wednesday agreed to look again at the planning balance between conservation policies and economic growth after more than a thousand people signed The Buteman’s petition urging the council to look again at its approach to planning applications in Rothesay.
Angus Gilmour, the authority’s head of planning and regulatory services, told Wednesday’s meeting that the council planned to review both Rothesay’s conservation area and the terms of its Rothesay Window Policy Statement, which the authority’s planning officers have themselves admitted is “outdated”.
Mr Gilmour also said the council would undertake a programme of “communication and education” with the community on Bute on the value of maintaining and enhancing the island’s built heritage.
Referring to the bitter row over plans for the installation UPVC windows in the Bute House Hotel in Rothesay, which led 1,112 people to sign our petition, Mr Gilmour said the council’s actions so far had been entirely in line with local and national policies and powers.
But he added: “We still have to be receptive to and aware of the views of the local community, and in that regard we are mindful of striking a balance between looking at conservation policies and promoting sustainable economic growth. We do need to get that balance right.”
The Rothesay conservation area stretches for some five miles from Port Bannatyne to Ascog, mostly covering the area on or near the shoreline, and includes nine separate ‘character areas’ with their own architectural and historic interest.