A DEVELOPER'S latest attempt to transform space above a town centre business has been knocked back over plans to use plastic-framed windows.

Cheshire East Council has already granted planning permission for three apartments above the Savills estate agents, in Princess Street.

Developer Jeff Boyling wanted to amend the plans by changing the internal layout to include a fourth apartment, while also using uPVC windows to the rear rather than timber-framed ones.

In a variation of condition proposal handed to CEC, Mr Boyling's agent Kel Palmer said the addition of an apartment could be done 'simply, without any changes to the approved exterior, access or parking arrangements'.

On the request for uPVC windows, he added: "Some windows to the rear and many to surrounding properties are white uPVC.

"The applicant would like to change all rear windows to white uPVC to reduce maintenance as some are difficult to access."

Knutsford Town Council had not objected to the proposal, provided conservation officers were comfortable with it.

But this proved to be a major stumbling block for the scheme, with Princess Street being part of the town centre conservation area, where timber-framed windows are required.

In an objection submitted to CEC, a spokesman for the Knutsford neighbourhood plan steering group said: "The replacement, in a highly visible location, of timber-framed with uPVC windows in buildings of townscape merit – adjacent to other buildings also of townscape merit – is detrimental to the character of the Knutsford town centre conservation area.

"Planning applications which propose changes to the rear of buildings in these areas – in this case Red Cow Yard – provide an opportunity, through appropriate design and use of materials, to enhance the character and historic distinctiveness of the town centre conservation area.

"This opportunity has not been realised in this application."

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CEC ruled that the windows would make an 'an adverse visual effect ' on the building's character and appearance, causing 'less than substantial harm' to a building in the conservation area.

Planning officers also ruled that a full planning application would be needed to increase the number of apartments to four, rather than the attempt to vary the previous permission that was granted.