A replacement window ended up costing a shop owner £500 more than he bargained for after he fell foul of strict planning rules.
Sajjad Anwar, who is a tenant of a jewellery shop on Main Street, Kirkby Lonsdale, pleaded guilty to altering a listed building without consent when he appeared before magistrates in Kendal.
Anwar, 35, was prosecuted by South Lakeland District Council (SLDC) as the planning authority responsible for protecting listed buildings in the area.
He admitted to ‘causing works to be executed for the alteration of a listed building’ by replacing the window, which affected its character as a building of special architectural and historic interest, contrary to section nine of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.
The shop window he took out was a large 20-pane original Edwardian timber-framed window. It was replaced with a modern single-pane timber window.
Anwar was given a six month conditional discharge and ordered to make a contribution to SLDC’s costs of £500, plus a £15 victim surcharge. Anwar told the court he was the victim of a burglary in March last year, which prompted him to replace the window.
However, he did not seek the consent of the council to replace the window and didn’t seek consent for any temporary measures which the council would also have helped him with.
Anwar had attended two planning surgeries in May and June 2011 in Kirkby Lonsdale and was given information and advice about listed building consent. But the court heard that he chose to ignore the advice given at those events when he changed the window last year.
Altering the character of a listed building without consent is known as an ‘either way offence’, which means it can be dealt with either by magistrates or, if deemed serious enough, the higher crown court.
Nicola Hartley, Senior Solicitor at South Lakeland District Council, said: “While we sympathise with Mr Anwar’s reasons for wanting to replace the window it is still a serious offence to change a listed building without consent.
“The legislation is there to protect the character of historic or architecturally important buildings and to preserve these buildings for the benefit of our communities.
“In this case this was a rare example of an Edwardian multi-pane shop window that has now been lost forever.”