Planning bid to change windows has been blocked at converted homes in former Halifax hospital
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The chair of Halifax Royal Infirmary Management Committee for properties at the former hospital site – closed in 2001 – in Free School Lane said their bid to vary planning conditions only applied to specific buildings.
These were where alterations by the developer created some ground-floor new build extensions attached to the Grade II listed buildings (and thus deemed listed) – once the hospital’s Crossley and Porter wards.
Poorer quality wood had been used in the new builds, leading to issues impacting on the Skircoat conservation area site’s appearance.
Monica Skubiak said poor fitting frame problems resulted in extensive heat loss, letting water in and increased maintenance costs.
“Ultimately, and they are in fact, starting to discourage, rather than attract, potential buyers.
“Sometimes heritage bumps up against reality,” she said.
Replacing with wood would cost around, at pre-Covid prices, £16,000, compared to around £5,500 for uPVC for the same job.
She said the intention was alternatives would be regulated by the management company and agent.
“The site is well-managed and has become a desirable place to live.
“We wish to keep it that way, and through specific lease conditions, applying to all leaseholders, strict criteria is followed to ensure all replacements replicate the original timber frames, style and design,” said Ms Skubiak.
This even went down to the colour – antique white – and there were mechanisms for dealing with lease breaches, where remedies would be required.
Coun Stephanie Clarke (Lab, Illingworth and Mixenden) had queried how much control the management committee could have in these matters.
But planning officers said the local planning authority had no control over leases – and thus type, colour and design – nor were these material planning conditions.
It had legal duties, as well as planning policy, to protect listed buildings and conservation areas, with great weight given to impact of any, not even substantial, harm to the setting.
Coun Mike Barnes (Lab, Skircoat), supporting the application, said there were examples of uPVC in the wider conservation area – and he supported conservation areas.
“Therefore it does seem only fair to accept this condition on grounds of fairness and consistency,” he said.