Plans to replace a Grade II-listed retirement home’s historic windows with plastic versions has been refused.

The application at Southcote Lodge, which was formerly the home of mathematician John Blagrave, was the second in the last year seeking to replace the timber windows with new white uPVC windows.

Reading Borough Council’s (RBC) Planning Applications committee rejected the proposal at Wednesday’s meeting (December 11) due to the impact replacing the windows would have on the heritage asset.

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Southcote Lodge resident Barbara Chounds said new windows “would make the world of difference” to elderly residents.

But Councillor Tony Page responded: “Regrettably personally circumstances are not a material planning consideration and I haven’t heard any material planning considerations this evening.”

“To approve this plan we might as well shred the local plan that we approved weeks ago.”

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The new planning blueprint gives extra protection to listed buildings in the borough.

The lead member for Planning added that, although some windows have been placed, “this doesn’t detract from those that are still there”.

Councillor John Ennis, speaking in support of residents, said: “Many of the windows have been transformed already.

“Residents have looked after the property for a long time and are suffering from fuel poverty.”

He added: “It is important that new windows are heritage windows.”

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Cllr Jason Brock, leader of the council, also spoke to the committee to implore them to allow the plan to go ahead.

He said the building has been the “victim of architectural vandalism” in the past through the approved planning application of an extension to the building “a long time ago”.

He said he is “surprised that the building is still listed” and suggested the building should be delisted.

Councillor Karen Rowland said she does not believe the building can be delisted.

She said the building has “great heritage value for the town” and “we are going to have to live with this building”.

The Heritage lead member said she had struggled with the application but concluded it must be rejected. She said the windows should be refurbished rather than replaced.

Committee members Cllr Rowland and Cllr Ennis both excused themselves from voting on this application as they said had pre-determined their decision.