11th hour reprieve for uPVC windows in 18th century listed house as Melton orders ‘root and branch’ reviews of enforcement

OWNERS of a listed building with 23 illegal windows have been given an 11th hour reprieve after a dramatic intervention by Council Leader Alan Melton.

Cllr Melton stepped into the row last week by ordering an immediate “root and branch review of windows policy.”

He said: “I am not advocating a free for all since from my trade background I am a traditionalist.

“However new technologies and designs have greatly altered the structure and appearance of sustainable materials.

“We will listen to conservationists, local agents, national and local manufacturers.”

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His email, sent to councillors at the end of last week, came after Fenland Council Planning Committee suddenly announced it was postponing legal action against Kent House, Black Horse Lane, Chatteris. Council officers on a routine check had found it had unauthorised uPVC windows.

Planning officers originally agreed to allow them replace 23 uPVC windows over 16 years but then changed their minds and ordered them replaced within three years.

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However authority to take legal action against the windows, satellite dishes and a banner sign at the 18th century former workhouse was suddenly withdrawn at last week’s committee.

No explanation was given but Cllr Melton later explained the new review which will include listed buildings, conservation areas and new homes.

“We will also need to look at sustainability, energy conservation and efficiency,” he said. “It seems ridiculous to me that we still to have revert to the designs of 200 years ago. Of course, any changes must take into account local and aesthetic appearances.”

Cllr Melton said a sub committee would look at these and other issues – including enforcements against illegal road side signs-m and then report back.

“We can then debate and alter our policies accordingly,” he said.

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