Landlord given nine months to replace ‘poor’ windows after losing appeal

13 Magdalen Street, where sash windows have been replaced with PVCu encasing. Picture: Archant

13 Magdalen Street, where sash windows have been replaced with PVCu encasing. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

A landlord has been given nine months to replace the windows in his property after illegally replacing them years ago.

Norwich City Council has taken enforcement action against Timothy Harber, of Earsham Properties Ltd, after the landlord had the sash windows removed from 13 Magdalen Street and replaced with PVC-u encased windows.

With the building listed and protected by the Colegate conservation area, City Hall ordered Mr Harber to change them back to sash windows, however, in September he launched an appeal against the council's enforcement notice.

Mr Harber argued that the work had been carried out more than four years ago and therefore should be immune to enforcement action - despite being fitted without the benefit of planning permission - and launched an appeal with the Planning Inspectorate.

However, a planning inspector has now ruled in the council's favour, ordering sash windows be re-fitted to the property. However, Mr Harber was given a three-month extension to carry out the works, giving him nine months to make the changes.

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In his decision, inspector Thomas Shields wrote: "The appellant argues he replaced the timber sash windows because they were in poor condition. However, there is no submitted photographic evidence before me which demonstrates that they were beyond reasonable repair and refurbishment.

"Overall, I consider that the PVC-u windows lack the more elegant and crafted traditional form of the former timber windows which were intrinsic features to the traditional architectural form and character of the host building. They are poor representations of the originals they replaced."

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Mr Shields also judged that Mr Harber had been unable to provide exact evidence of when the replacement windows were installed and, therefore, could not prove they were immune to enforcement.

With the original notice served by the council in November 2018, Mr Harber would have to demonstrate the windows were put in before November 2014 to have immunity.

Mr Shields wrote: "On the balance of probability, I find overall that the appellant has failed to demonstrate that the windows were installed before 22 August 2014."

A spokesman for the city council said: "The council resolved that enforcement action was necessary to secure removal of the windows because they caused harm to the character of the locally listed building and the conservation area."

Mr Harber has been approached for comment.

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