Quiet bedroom bid refused by Midlothian Council to go to Scottish Ministers

A bid to create quieter bedroom space in a listed building which sits next to the A7 has been taken to Scottish Ministers after it was refused by Midlothian Council.

Friday, 12th March 2021, 9:18 am
Midlothian Council Debating chamber at Midlothian House, Buccleuch St in Dalkeith. 19/2/18
Midlothian Council Debating chamber at Midlothian House, Buccleuch St in Dalkeith. 19/2/18

Council planners ruled that the proposals for new dormer windows at the 19th-century Smithy Cottages on Old Dalkeith Road were “unsympathetic” and “detrimental to the character” of the Category C listed building.

But in an appeal lodged by the architects on behalf of the owner, it is claimed planning officers encouraged them to build a whole new extension to the gable end of the building before turning down their “sensitive” visual addition.

Crichton Wood Architects argue that the house has poor bedroom accommodation with poor natural light and point at its location as an issue.

In their appeal statement to the Scottish Government Reporter, they said: “The house is challenged by having one half of the ground floor being built into the slope to the north which supports the very busy A7, which is also is one of the main routes in for ambulances coming from the south to the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh.

“The design strategy is to redesign the existing bedroom over the living space to create two new bedrooms that have much-improved qualities of natural light and acoustic privacy.”

The property is one of two semi-detached 19th-century cottages linked to an old smithy in the area, situated on the edge of the boundary of Midlothian and Edinburgh. Midlothian Council refused planning permission for the dormer and listed building consent to change the size of an existing window.

The planning officer’s report found: “The proposal does not complement or relate to the original character of the listed building which results in an adverse visual impact on the historic dwelling house. The construction of the proposed dormer window will not contribute positively towards the character or appearance of the listed building.”

Appealing the decision, the architects point to advice given by planning officers which suggested that a larger project to extend the gable end of the house would have been approved.

The case will be subject to a site inspection before a decision is made.