Historic Portsoy pub loses planning vote
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A planning application to put high-quality uPVC windows in the upper level of the Shore Inn in Portsoy has been narrowly refused.
The owners of the pub, which is a listed building, wanted to replace its timber-framed dormer windows with a wood-grain material which would be easier to maintain.
They argued that because the windows were more than 20ft off the ground, looking after them properly would involve the cost of putting up scaffolding.
In addition, it was stated that it would be very difficult, when viewed from the ground, to spot that the windows were no longer timber.
The bid to replace the windows was part of an updated planning application which was first put forward in October, five months before the onset of the pandemic.
Other work involved replacing some roof tiles on the pub and making a new entrance on the west side of the building.
The updated application was discussed at the Banff and Buchan Area Committee, where council officers spoke against it and recommended it be refused.
It was stated that the pub is in the Portsoy Conservation Area, where a lot of money had been spent between 2011-2016 to improve its general appearance.
They also stressed that the Shore Inn was a C-listed building and Historic Environment Scotland (HES) has advised that uPVC windows are "rarely acceptable" in such circumstances.
In addition, it was also suggested by officers that although the windows might look very similar to authentic timber at first, the difference would become more apparent over time.
Concerns were raised that if "inauthentic" materials were allowed, it could make it harder to attract funding for Portsoy in the future for from heritage organisations such as HES or from the national lottery.
In addition, mention was made of how film crews had been attracted to Portsoy precisely because of the traditional look of the buildings around the harbour,
However, the meeting also heard that most of the windows at the Shore Inn were not actually an original feature of the building.
Councillor Glen Reynolds (SNP) spoke in favour of allowing the application.
He said: "We need to look a the reality of this situation.
"Hospitality is really struggling financially at the moment.
"And we're not talking about plastic windows here. We're talking about a high quality product which will enhance a very prominent building down at the harbour.
"What will happen to this building and these windows if we don't take supportive measures?"
Councillors refused to allow the application by five votes to four.