Glasgow flat owner ordered to remove windows installed in conservation area

A flat owner has been ordered to remove the UPVC windows in his East Pollokshields property by the council despite claiming “hundreds” of homes have them.

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Bilal Shabbir appealed against the council’s decision after it ruled the “non-conforming” tenement windows were installed without permission in the conservation area.

Mr Shabbir must now replace them with timber sash and case.

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In an appeal to the Scottish Government, Mr Shabbir said: “I was totally unaware that I needed permission to install windows at this property. There are hundreds of flats in Pollokshields that have UPVC windows and I am in no position financially to change the windows.”

He also said his business had been heavily impacted by the covid pandemic and argued that changing the windows would cause him extreme hardship.

New windows were installed by the owner.

The council found out about the windows following a complaint.

The Scottish Government reporter visited the flat at 1/1, 233 Kenmure Street while considering the appeal and also noticed many other UPVC windows in the area. However, the reporter agreed with the council and upheld its enforcement notice, which states the windows must go.

The reporter said: “The appellant notes there are many other UPVC windows in flats in the area, and I observed this to be the case during my site inspection. However, I also observed that a sizeable proportion of flats still have original or traditionally accurate wooden sash and case windows.

The reporter added in a decision notice: “The council explains that many of the other UPVC windows in the area are no longer enforceable as they have been in place for over four years. It indicates it is insufficiently resourced to actively look for breaches of planning control but seeks to act consistently on unauthorised windows in conservation areas by investigating complaints received and issuing enforcement notices where there is an actionable breach of planning control that is contrary to policy.”

The Glasgow City Council enforcement notice issued to Mr Shabbir said there was “unauthorised installation of non-conforming windows” at the property.

It said the windows were contrary to policy and guidance.

The enforcement notice, which gave reasons for the action, added: “The replacement windows not only fail to preserve or enhance the visual amenity of the building and the surrounding East Pollokshields Conservation area and are considered to detract therefrom.”

The appeal from Mr Shabbir stated the actions required in the enforcement notice exceed what is necessary to remedy any breach of planning control.

But the council argued the “steps required by the notice were not excessive as the windows in terms of profile, method of opening and materials did not meet policy and therefore no application was invited because the only course of action would be for the windows to be removed and replaced with those which met policy.”

In response to Mr Shabbir’s comment about other flats having UPVC windows, the council said: “The Enforcement officer has vast local knowledge of the area and is aware a number of unauthorised windows exist in the wider area. Many have not been subject to a public complaint and are now immune from Enforcement action, being installed more than four years ago.”

The Scottish Reporter issued the decision on the appeal on May 12.