East Lothian planning: Roof terrace owners win fight to keep protective pergola at Haddington flat

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East Lothian couple win their appeal

A couple who claimed they built a wooden canopy on their roof terrace to protect them from falling debris and neighbours throwing things at them have won their fight to keep it.

The owners of a flat on Haddington High Street lodged an appeal after they were refused permission for the pergola on their roof terrace and told to remove it.

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Planning officers said the structure was permanent and had a negative impact on neighbours, however the owners claimed it was needed for their own protection when using the terrace.

At a meeting of East Lothian Council’s Local Review Body yesterday, Thursday, April 25, councillors backed the flat owners after visiting the terrace and seeing the  dangers first hand.

The flat at Haddington High Street, East Lothian.The flat at Haddington High Street, East Lothian.
The flat at Haddington High Street, East Lothian.

Councillor Norman Hampshire, review body chairperson, said: “There is a building alongside this property that is in a very poor state of repair and there are visible signs of material falling from that building onto this area.

“The pergola will give the people on that terrace area added safety, if they are on there and are hit by falling material from adjacent buildings it could be really dangerous.”

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And Councillor Donna Collins said slates hanging from the roof above their heads during the visit had been concerning.

She said: “The pergola is not only going to protect the applicants but also the building from any other debris falling. There were two sites hanging above our heads from the gutter when we were there, so I can see how dangerous it is.”

In their statement to East Lothian Council’s local review body, the flat owners said: “The installation of the pergola was undertaken as a measure to safeguard our health and well-being from potential hazards such as falling gutters, stones, or slates, or objects thrown by neighbours.

“We have been subjected to harassment on multiple instances. Objects have been hurled from an elevated position. These incidents, along with other instances of physical and verbal harassment and aggression, have been duly reported to the police.”

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Councillor Shona McIntosh, sympathised with the terrace owners but voiced concerns over whether the poor repairs of the neighbouring building was enough of a reason to allow the canopy to remain.

She said: “I do have reservations on whether we should be making a planning decision on the basis we have not managed to force someone else to keep up their roof properly. I am not sure that is a reason to allow a big structure like this.”

East Lothian planners were asked to approve a retrospective planning application for the roof terrace which is on top of a commercial premises below and the pergola.

But while they approved the terrace, they ruled the pergola would need to be removed describing it as a permanent structure which the owners were using to store electrical equipment.

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Planners said: “The pergola, which is a covered, permanent structure allows for the intensification of use of this external terrace. Such an intensification of use is harmful to the residential amenity of the occupants of other flats within the flatted building.”

The review body supported the appeal allowing the pergola to remain by two votes to one.

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