A JEWELLER is to pay a contribution towards council court costs after replacing the original Edwardian window of a Grade II-listed building without planning permission.
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 South Lakeland Magistrates’ Court last week.
Anwar, 35, admitted ‘causing works to be executed for the alteration of a listed building’ by replacing the window.
This was said to affect 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.
However, the court heard he did not seek the consent of the council to replace the window and did not seek consent for any temporary measures which the council would also have helped him with.
SLDC senior solicitor Nicola Hartley said that in 2011 someone from the authority was asked to examine the building, which dates back to 1600.
She said Anwar was ‘clearly’ advised he needed to speak to the council before changing anything.
But the court heard that in 2013, a councillor noticed the window had changed and concluded that it had caused harm to the historical interest of the building – in a conservation area.
Anwar told magistrates it was never his intention to cause harm to the building, and he did it for security and insurance purposes.
He said he had been burgled on several occasions, causing damage to the glass, which he claimed was in a wooden frame that was rotting due to damp.
He added that he had been to the council to seek advice but was given a ‘plain and simple no’, so he did not know what to do.
“I am really sorry for what I did,” he said. “I wish I hadn’t, but I had to protect my staff. It hasn’t made my business any better.”
Sentencing, chairman of the bench Peter Benning said: “The final act of replacing the window was an act of desperation, for the security of your business.”
After the hearing, Ms Hartley said: “While we sympathise with Mr Anwar’s reasons for wanting to replace the window... The legislation is there to protect the character of historic or architecturally important buildings and to preserve these buildings.
“This was a rare example of an Edwardian multi-pane shop window now lost forever.”