Retrospective Windows

During December 2008 a potential client of Finchley Rd, London rang Planning Appeals Limited regarding retrospective planning for UPVC windows in her and her Father’s properties.  The windows were installed in two entirely separate mansion blocks located on the same street.

The background to the case is that the potential clients had improved their properties by installing new UPVC windows in their 19th Century apartments but had failed to secure planning permission prior to doing this. The windows improved their air quality, noise pollution, security and heating bills as well as looking smart and in the clients’ opinion, were in keeping with the local area. However, London Borough of Barnet Council adopted a completely different view and declared that as the properties were in a conservation area the windows were not appropriate and would have to be replaced. The Council issued an Enforcement Notice to remove the new windows and reinstate the building back to its original state. Failure to comply with this Notice would leave the clients open to legal action by the Council.

The two clients instructed a specialist (not Planning Appeals Limited) to undertake appeals against the Enforcement Notices.  However, both appeals were unsuccessful and subsequently dismissed. The Planning Inspectorate agreed with the Council and issued directions re-enforcing the Notice to remove the windows.

The clients, now out of pocket from two failed appeals, then made a planning application for the replacement windows in an attempt to stave off the Enforcement Action. Barnet Council naturally refused the planning applications and again Enforcement Action was back on the cards.

This is where Planning Appeals Limited became involved and we were instructed to work with the clients on a shared risk basis. Following discussions with the clients it became apparent that they felt that a further appeal was merely a delaying tactic and eventually they would have to replace their windows.  The team at Planning Appeals Limited kept them positive and fully supported them throughout the appeal process.  

The legal team carefully investigated the case and its history. Case precedents in other areas were researched. Legal issues, local and national policies were scrutinized along with a thorough examination of the validity of the Council’s reasons for refusals. Robust appeal statements were submitted on 14/01/2009 and all parties had to then be patient and wait for the decision.

The decisions were received on the 20th May and 29th June. To the clients delight the Planning Inspectorate allowed the appeals and granted planning consent for the windows. 

Two different Inspectors concurred with the compelling cases presented by Planning Appeals Limited.  One Inspector declared “…I find nothing to support the Council’s view that the proposal would be harmful to the Area of Special Character. Accordingly, I see no conflict with the policies referred to in the Council’s reason for refusal” (Ref APP/N5090/A/09/2094583/WF) and the other Inspector stated, “….The arguments of the local planning authority are limited to those provided in the report of officers to committee. This contends that the development within and around the conservation area is characterised by a uniform style of windows which are original to the properties. This is certainly not true of the particular block which contains the appeal site”. (Ref APP/N5090/A/09/2094552).

Appeal Ref.APP/N5090/A/09/2094552 and APP/N5090/A/09/2094583/WF