A new policy on the replacement of windows in buildings in Rothesay’s conservation area has been officially adopted by Argyll and Bute Council.
The authority’s planning, protective services and licensing committee (PPSL) agreed on Wednesday to adopt a new Technical Working Note as a material planning consideration in future applications for window replacement.
The new guidance allows for greater flexibility for buildings which are less historically significant and for those properties which have already been subject to significant change in the type of windows installed.
But the rules remain the same for the most important listed buildings and prime town centre blocks within the conservation area - for which the council still believes the ideal solution is to repair or refurbish timber sliding sash-and-case windows, or for like-for-like replacements.
Councillor David Kinniburgh, chair of the PPSL and the authority’s policy lead for planning, said: “The previous guidance on window replacements in conservation areas dated from 1995; we felt the time was right to update the policy position to reflect changing circumstances and to give a greater degree of flexibility to the owners of the less historically significant buildings within the conservation area.
“Listed and key town centre buildings will still be subject to a traditional, conservation approach where we would require like for like sash and case timber window replacement.
“For buildings which are not listed and do not make a significant contribution to the conservation area we will now allow good quality uPVC windows.
“For buildings which currently have what we would consider poor quality or unsympathetic uPVC windows we will try to ensure, upon their replacement, that they are improved to be more in keeping with the traditional town centre.
“In producing this new policy position we have consulted with Historic Environment Scotland (formerly Historic Scotland) and it is content that this approach protects the traditional features of the conservation area.
“This note represents a practical and proportionate shift in policy which acknowledges the changing circumstances since 1995 while protecting the key historic heart of the town centre and supporting our heritage-led regeneration initiatives. It is our view that insisting on timber sash and case windows throughout the conservation area would be unreasonable.
“This new approach has been reflected in some recent planning decisions and we will update technical advice notes for other areas accordingly.”
Wednesday’s PPSL meeting also saw the refusal of retrospective applications for planning permission and listed building consent for uPVC windows in the Bute House Hotel, on the corner of Watergate and West Princes Street.