Homeowner who wants to demolish property due to repair cost loses appeal

Rahan Tazir lost his appeal after being told he had not shown retaining the house was 'economically unviable'.

Homeowner who wants to demolish property due to repair cost loses appeal LDRS

A homeowner who wants to knock down his property due to the cost of repairs has lost an appeal against a council decision to refuse permission.

Rahan Tazir asked East Renfrewshire Council to approve his plan to demolish the house, that sits within the Lower Whitecraigs conservation area at Ayr Road in Giffnock.

Planning officials objected to the demolition saying he had not shown retaining the building was “economically unviable”.

Mr Tahir, who believes he would need to spend £685,000 to renovate the building on top of the £700,000 he paid for it, then appealed, but a Scottish Government reporter has upheld the original decision.

A letter to the homeowner from a building surveyor recommended demolition as the cost of reinstatement of the property is around £650,000 and added that a new build would be more “economically viable, energy efficient and less of an environmental impact than reinstating and retrofitting this property”.

The applicant’s agent, TmC planning and development, said their client was “unaware” the property was in a conservation area when he bought it.

They added the bedrooms in the attic are “of a substandard size” and “the repair of the building is not economically viable”.

However in a submission to the reporter, council officials said: “The economic argument used to justify demolition was deemed to be too broad and did not focus solely on the works to the structural elements of the building (those elements required to retain the building).

“An estimated cost of £650,000 was provided for reinstating the building with an additional £35,000 of works to improve energy efficiency.

“The £650,000 of works were not itemised and included non-structural work such as replacing floor coverings, repairing internal plasterwork, replacing an internal staircase and installing a new kitchen for example.”

They said these items “had the effect of inflating the estimated costs of retaining the building” and did not give “an accurate estimate of the cost of retaining the building”.

The reporter concluded that “overall the property was, in my view, in a reasonable state of repair for a building of its age”.

They said a structural report described “the attic rooms as unsafe for inhabitation due to insufficient floor joists, and recommended that the space is upgraded”.

“I accept that the attic rooms are of a lower head height than that required by building standards,” they added.

However, they said: “Based on the information before me, I do not consider that the height of the attic rooms, or the question of their habitability, provide justification for the demolition of the dwelling.

“Further, the appellant has not provided sufficient justification that the property is structurally unsound and in such a state of disrepair that the costs of retaining and repairing the building would be economically unviable.”

Historic Environment Scotland had said the property “makes a positive contribution to the conservation area” and the reporter agreed.

“I find that its demolition would neither preserve nor enhance the character or appearance of the conservation area,” they added.

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