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Why ‘Ambulance’ Argument Over Extension Failed

Planning for an extension is something thousands of Scottish homeowners do every year. But while architects in South Lanarkshire could help you come up with a dream design to add a wonderful extra addition to your property, there will always be the issue of gaining planning permission.


A key question is whether the area you live in is restricted in some way, such as being in a conservation area, or whether there might be some other issue such as your home being a listed building.


The latter concern lay behind a row over a proposed extension to a home in Danderhall, just outside Edinburgh, Edinburgh Live reported. The owner of a 19th century smithy cottage wanted to add a new dormer extension at the back of the house to provide respite from the noise of traffic on the nearby A7, especially, he noted, the wail of ambulance sirens.


Although the cottage had received extension work in the past, the owner was refused planning permission by Midlothian Council. He appealed to Scottish ministers, citing his need to escape the ambulance noise and deal with the issue of “sub-standard” bedroom space.


To get the go-ahead in a building of this kind, listed building consent would have been needed. But the Scottish Government Reporter rejected the plea, saying that while the present layout may not be ideal, “I have seen no indication to suggest that, if I were to refuse to grant listed building consent, the host building would cease to be habitable.”


Under Scottish law, unless listed building consent is granted it is illegal to alter a listed building, with this mechanism designed to protect against any inappropriate developments that could alter the character of a building.


For this reason, if your property is listed, you will need to adjust any proposed extensions or alterations to meet the requirements of maintaining its character - and even then it will be up to the local authority to decide if your plan falls within these legal constraints.

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