A WAR of words has broken out between council planning officers and two doctors who want to install new windows at their Helensburgh home.

Doctors Nick and Gillian Dunn are to attend a second hearing of a local review body of Argyll and Bute councillors on Tuesday, January 21.

Their bid to install 30 new windows at their property in John Street was rejected by the council’s planning department in July.

A first hearing to appeal against the decision took place on Thursday, November 14, being adjourned with further information requested by the three-councillor panel.

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Further information provided by a council planning officer has also deemed patio doors “unacceptable” as part of the plans, and said that they should have been included among the reasons for refusal.

A statement by the planning officer said: “It is considered that the installation of 30 replacement windows which do not exactly match the original timber windows in terms of materials and appearance will be visually intrusive, visually discordant and as such detract from and undermine the character and appearance of this traditional building.

“This will have a detrimental effect on the integrity and architectural quality of the building as a whole and in turn will undermine the character and appearance of the conservation area.”

The report also refers to neighbouring properties in the same block, on which it states: “These buildings are all very visible from the street and three out of the four have retained their original windows.

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“These windows are timber sash and case units with astragals to the upper panes. They are integral to the character and appearance of the dwellings and the wider conservation area. It is therefore considered that this is a prime townscape block.”

However, Dr Gillian Dunn responded: “This is a factually incorrect ‘cut and paste’ from previous correspondence. [Two other houses in the block] have uPVC.

“To whom would replacement windows appear ‘visually discordant and visually intrusive’? Our neighbours? Visitors to Helensburgh?

“I dispute that normal sighted individuals would be able to tell the difference between wooden and uPVC Heritage replacement windows from the roadside.”

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On the claim that the patio doors and windows should have been included among the reasons for refusal and were “unacceptable”, Dr Dunn replied: “Why are the patio doors unacceptable, and to what policy is their installation contrary? Why were they omitted from the initial reason for refusal?”

Planning consultant Chris Doak said that the property was not a listed building and added: “We are sensitively proposing to extend an existing window opening down to floor level, and we are not forming a wider opening.

“Equally, why is it not acceptable to put a new window opening in the side wall? There are already two windows in this wall, and the new one matches them in proportion, opening method, and external finish.”

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The panel for the meeting will consist of Mid-Argyll, Kintyre and Islay Councillors Rory Colville, Robin Currie and Alastair Redman.

No Helensburgh and Lomond councillors are involved as it is the norm for members not to sit on a local review body for a development in their administrative area of Argyll and Bute.

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