Owner of Fife historic country house told to reinstate courtyard after losing planning appeal

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The owner of a historic Fife country house has been told to reinstate the property’s courtyard to its previous condition after losing a planning appeal.

Ian Macallan challenged Fife Council’s decision in September to refuse retrospective planning permission relating to the courtyard at Carphin House, which is at Luthrie, near Cupar.

Random stone paving had been removed from the site for safety reasons in 2018 and replaced with concrete paving stones, but Mr Macallan had not received appropriate consent and went back to Fife Council for approval.

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Council planners described the loss of the original stone at the rear courtyard as “regrettable but acceptable”, but councillors on the region’s north east planning committee turned down retrospective consent and called for enforcement action.

The courtyard at Carphin HouseThe courtyard at Carphin House
The courtyard at Carphin House
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Now a Scottish Government Reporter has thrown out a subsequent appeal of that decision, meaning the original courtyard surface will either have to be restored or replaced with natural stone.

Michael McGlynn, Scottish Government Reporter, said the modern appearance of the newer paving was not consistent with other finishes evident in the courtyard.

“It could be argued that the paving will dull and weather over time and therefore its colour will become more assimilated,” he commented.

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Carphin HouseCarphin House
Carphin House

“However, I do not agree that this would significantly affect its underlying grey colouring and will not change its texture nor its modern appearance.”

Mr McGlynn noted Mr Macallan’s assertion that the courtyard had to be altered for health and safety reasons, but concluded it could have been done differently.

He continued: “I am mindful that addressing health and safety matters can be a requirement to ensure the continued use of a listed building.

“It does not follow, however, that any alteration to a listed building is automatically accepted to address a health and safety issue.

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“Appropriate design solutions should be developed and assessed that consider both health and safety issues and preserving the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building.

“Given my findings on the impact of the proposed works on the listed building it may be that alternative materials and approaches could be considered acceptable in this instance.”

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