'Plastic' window replacement proves costly
A Boston woman has been prosecuted for failing to comply with a listed buildings enforcement notice to remove UPVC windows that had been fitted to a Grade II listed building.
Julie Simmons, the owner of the property at 26 West Street, Boston, was ordered to pay a total of £1,430 after a trial at Boston Magistrates' Court for failing to comply with a legal notice requiring her to remove plastic windows that had been installed without permission and to replace them with traditional timber windows.
Boston Borough Council first became aware that plastic windows had been installed at the property in January 2016 and contacted the owners to advise them that the works were unauthorised and were an unsympathetic alteration to a listed building.
Following a long period of negotiations between the council and Ms Simmons no progress was made and subsequently the council served a legal notice under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act that required that the unauthorised plastic windows be removed and be replaced with traditional timber-framed windows in keeping with the special historic and architectural character of the listed building.
Ms Simmons appealed to the Government Planning Inspectorate stating that the building was not of historical importance and that the windows were urgently required. The Planning Inspector dismissed these appeals and concluded that the building was of historic importance and that the windows that had been installed harmed the character of the building and that there were other options available to protect the living conditions of the occupiers of the property. The Inspector allowed Ms Simmons four months in which to replace the windows.
She failed to comply with the requirements of the notice. At Boston Magistrates' Court on Tuesday, March 7, she pleaded not guilty to failing to comply with the requirements of the notice served on her. Magistrates found her guilty and concluded that the council had tried all avenues to resolve the matter without the need to take legal proceedings but that Ms Simmons failure to properly engage with the council had left them with no other option. She was fined £300 plus she has to pay a victim surcharge of £30 and the council's legal costs of £1,100.
Ms Simmons must now also ensure that the unauthorised plastic windows are replaced with traditional timber windows as required by the legal notice or face further legal action.
After the hearing Council Leader, Cllr Michael Cooper said: "Listed buildings are protected by law and the council has a duty to act if work is carried out without the proper permissions. I hope this serves as a reminder to owners of all listed buildings that they must ensure that they seek the proper authority before carrying out work and that the council will consider using its legal powers against those that do not."
Owners of such properties can seek guidance from the council before carrying out any works. Contact the council's planning team on 01205 314305 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org for advice.