Shropshire Star

Charity wins permission to change windows of prominent Wellington building

A charity will be allowed to make changes to a prominent building in Wellington town centre after winning their battle against the council.

A charity will be allowed to make changes to a prominent Wellington building after winning their battle against the council. Photo: Google

Non-profit charity Landau moved into the former Barclays Bank building in Wellington after change of use plans were approved.

After the charity spent its first winter in the building the applicant says that it became ‘very evident’ that the existing metal framed, single glazed windows ‘have failed, are no longer fit for purpose and are thermally inefficient’.

As a result, in March last year, Telford Investments Limited submitted plans for the replacement of windows and cladding at the Church Street building.

“The proposed replacement windows will significantly reduce the heating bills due to the improved thermal efficiency of the fenestration, and will reduce the financial drain on the charity which occupies the building,” said the applicant’s planning statement.

“The proposed works will ensure a more comfortable working and learning environment for staff and students using and attending this supported employment and training non-profit charity that transforms over 800 lives a year across the West Midlands.”

Telford & Wrekin Council refused the plans in June and said that the replacement uPVC windows would result in ‘significantly detrimental harm to the character and appearance of the former Barclays Bank building and surrounding conservation area’.

“Whilst some public benefits have been highlighted, these are not considered sufficient enough to outweigh the level of harm caused,” said the planning officer.

Telford Investments Limited appealed the decision and asked a government-appointed planning inspector to ‘give more weight’ to the thermal improvements that the replacement windows would bring.

The main issue the planning inspector considered was the ‘effect’ the proposal would have on the character and appearance of the area, including the setting of the Grade II* listed Church of All Saints which faces towards the building.

They also considered whether the changes would ‘preserve or enhance the character or appearance of the Wellington Conservation Area’.

Planning officer Mr A Tucker concluded that the former Barclays Bank building is “itself a modern building with a blocky, horizontal emphasis and material palette that means it is wholly at odds with its surroundings".

Mr Tucker added that the building was identified in the Wellington Conservation Area’ (WCA) appraisal as a ‘negative building’.

“PVCu replacements would have chunkier frames than the existing windows; however, their introduction would only change the appearance of a modern building that already appears out of place,” concluded the planning inspector.

“They would be finished in grey and would therefore not have the stark appearance typically associated with PVCu.

“I am satisfied that they would not be prominent or harmful; indeed, they would match with the windows installed on the recent residential development at the rear of the site. On this basis, the replacement windows would be a neutral intervention.”

Mr Tucker added that the proposal would also see the building’s pebbledash panels rendered over, which he said would ‘modestly enhance the building’s appearance’.

“In summary, the proposal would not harm the character or appearance of the building or area, the significance of the church or the character and appearance of the WCA.”