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(PG) Planning Guidance : Areas of Built Heritage and Townscape Value - The Shale Miners Rows

NB: This consultation is now closed.

It was agreed at a meeting of the Development and Transport Policy Development and Scrutiny Panel on 20 June 2019 to consult on new Planning Guidance (PG) relating to planning controls over alterations and extensions to properties identified in the West Lothian Local Development Plan 2019 as 'Areas of Built Heritage and Townscape Value' and in particular the former shale miners rows at:

  • Beresford Rise, Dedridge, Livingston;

  • Oakbank Cottages, near West Calder;

  • Roman Camp Cottages by Broxburn;

  • South Village, Pumpherston and

  • Abercorn / Midhope Rows at Winchburgh

Previous Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) dating from 1994 on this subject supported the West Lothian Local Plan (now superseded) but guidance now requires to be replaced as the new West Lothian Local Development Plan (LDP) was adopted in September 2018.

One of the most distinctive features of West Lothian heritage is the survival, largely intact, of several groups of houses built specifically for oil shale workers and known as "the rows". The council has recognised that there is merit it retaining a protective designation relative to the former shale miners rows at the locations identified above and policy ENV 27 of the LDP defines them as 'Areas of Built Heritage and Townscape Value'.

This does not however have the same status as conservation areas, and significantly, does not remove the 'permitted development rights' ordinarily available to householders to make minor alterations or modestly extend their property. However, when considering alterations and extensions are of a nature that do require planning permission the council will be particularly mindful of the need to maintain the architectural character and historic significance of the property and will seek to resist unsympathetic alterations.

Planning Guidance (PG) is produced by the council in order to explain how particular development plan policies should be applied in practice.

In this instance, it explains what is expected in terms of good design and identifies the matters to be taken into account by prospective developers when submitting a planning application to alter or extend a property in these locations. The PG also provides examples of good practice and sets out recommended design and finishing materials schedules.