Our company is privileged to have been selected to manage a conversion of an exclusive property in the heart of Glasgow’s west end into luxury apartments. It’s in a conservation area and is B listed.

The Herald:

The developer has given new life and purpose to the property which is taking a single dwelling and creating multiple dwellings which helps in the drive for new housing stock, albeit at the high end of the market.

I met with the developer last week to discuss plans to ready-enable the property for electric vehicle charging points in each parking space.

This is the best time to put the infrastructure in place and the plan is to pre-configure wiring for the chargers. The purchasers can decide later as to which system and what budget they want.

So, practical environmental futureproof planning conditions have been complied with by the developer who I then asked about installing solar panels and lithium battery storage to complement the EV charging.

The Herald:

I was met with the type of comment is usually heard well after the watershed.

The gist of it was: “Don’t be preposterous, this is a listed building. We have no chance of solar panels here”.

And here’s the issue I have (and will raise with planning over the next few years). Does the existing planning system, rules and guidelines for listed properties encourage vanity over pragmatism?

The world is facing a climate emergency. Donald Trump doesn’t believe it but many others – including me – do.

Listed buildings tend to be difficult to insulate. Efforts to improve energy efficiency are thwarted by sash and case single glazed windows. Ask anyone who owns a townhouse or large tenement flat in Glasgow’s west end about their heating bill. Is it just part of the experience of owning such a property, or because it’s just “not the done thing” to alter the look of a historic building?

The Herald:

We can try our damnedest to hold back the weathering of time through complex, authoritarian planning rules – and it remains inconceivable to the ‘intelligentsia’ that a Victorian terrace in the city’s west end should have solar panels, particularly on a high profile, street-facing elevation.

The Herald:

We don’t have our priorities straight. If you have the time, money and inclination to go for it (with your own property), the planning rules should take into account the significant benefits this represents for for the planet – not what may be to the detriment of the ocular sensitivities of the highbrow beholder.

Derek MacDonald is joint Managing Director of Newton Property Management.

For more information on Newton's 2020 vision please visit www.newtonproperty.co.uk

The Herald:

The Herald’s Climate for Change initiative supports efforts being made by the Scottish Government with key organisations and campaign partners. Throughout the year we will provide a forum in The Herald newspaper, online at herald.scotland.com and in Business HQ magazine, covering news and significant developments in this increasingly crucial area.

If you are interested in contributing editorially or interested in becoming a Climate for Change partner, please contact Stephen McTaggart on 0141 302 6137 or email stephen.mctaggart@heraldandtimes.co.uk