Opening a window on policy

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FENLAND has launched a review of policy which could impact on the way the area looks when it comes to homes and signs.

Council Leader Alan Melton, announced the move to carry out a ‘root and branch’ review of its windows policy following a row over a listed property in Chatteris and its replacement windows.

Head of Planning Services withdrew an item on Kent House, in Black Horse Lane, which was due to be discussed at last week’s planning committee.

Mr Melton has pledged the review will look at everything from listed buildings to conservation areas as well as new build properties. National policies together with local policies and conditions will also be looked at alongside sustainability, energy conservation and efficiency.

“It seems ridiculous to me that we still have to revert to the designs of 200 years ago. Things have moved on so much since plastic windows first came in. Of course any changes must take into account local and aesthetic appearances. I am not advocating a free for all - I am a traditionalist.

“However, new technologies and designs have greatly altered the structure and appearance of sustainable materials. We will listen to conservationists, local agents, national and local manufacturers,” said Mr Melton, who said council officers were backing the review.

“If we can draw up a new policy it will make life easier for everyone, as we will all know where we are coming from and there will be better consistency in the way decisions are made,” he added.

“As for advertising, I think it is right and proper to pursue illegal and unsightly adverting signs and hoardings, particularly those that are left to rot, However, we must allow businesses to advertise their location and nature of business in an aesthetically pleasing way. We must also take into account road safety issues.

“I have informed the Chief Executive of my thoughts. I propose to set up a small sub-group, drawn from the planning and Overview and Scrutiny committees. Following their report, we can debate and alter our policies accordingly,” concluded Mr Melton.