Appeal allows Taynuilt house demolition after council rejection

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An application to demolish a tin home near Taynuilt has been accepted, despite Argyll and Bute Council originally rejecting the request.

The council says it accepts the decision made by the Scottish Government’s Planning and Environmental Appeals Division on Valentine’s day.

However, tenant Nick Charlton has said if the demolition goes ahead he will lose his home and business.

Mr Charlton lives in Barr Bheag and runs a bike hire and repair shop from an adjacent tin hut. The case has been ongoing since November 2017, when landlord, the Josephine Marshall Trust, submitted an application to knock down the property.

Mr Charlton described it as a ‘tactic’: ‘You go to the planners, get a decision, then you take the permission and you present it as approval or support in courts.

‘If we got a refusal of planning permission, it would have stopped the eviction case in its tracks.

‘The reality is, it is a building block in the landlord’s case against us in the eviction. But it does not affect our case, we are arguing while there is a repair standing order in place, [the trust] does not have the right to demolish the house. The whole thing is stressful but I think it is important to have these things out in the open.’

He said he was grateful for the support he had received. Between the two applications there were more than 400 objections.

Mike Shiel, for the Scottish Government’s Planning and Environmental Appeals Division, said in his decision findings that Barr Bheag was ‘of no significant architectural interest or distinction’ and that its demolition would have ‘no adverse impact on the overall character of the local area’.
He also found that putting up a new house with modern construction and insulation may well have a lower carbon footprint than repairing the existing one.

The implication that Mr Charlton might become homeless and not be able to run his business had generated controversy, with Mr Shiel adding: ‘Some 130 email objections have been lodged, all with a similar wording, and most from people living a considerable distance from the site.’

However, he said Mr Charlton’s rights as a tenant were not for him to consider and said proceedings were pending regarding the landlord’s attempt to possess the house were ‘an entirely separate matter’, as was the situation over Mr Charlton’s business.

‘Granting planning permission for the demolition of the house does not override any decision made by the courts.

‘It is therefore conceivable that, even if planning permission were to be granted, the appellant would be unable to implement it because of other legal requirements.

‘The landlord would still need to obtain possession of the house, which would be a matter for the courts to decide. If the tenant were to be rendered homeless as a result, the council as housing authority may have obligations to address that fact,’ said Mr Shiel.