A CHURCH refused permission to replace timber windows with plastic frames has appealed, claiming it faces "massive" energy price increases in its place of worship.

Elcho Place Hall in Cockenzie has been used as a place of worship for more than 100 years, according to its congregation website, which also states that its members believe "that the Bible is the written word of God, completely true and can be trusted in every detail".

But when it applied for permission to replace its single glazing windows at the front and side of its building, East Lothian Council planners said that the proposed uPVC replacements would be "harmful" to its character and appearance.

Now the church has lodged an appeal against the decision with the council’s local review body, claiming it cannot afford to continue with the old wooden windows.

In the appeal, lodged by Paul Thomson from the hall, he invites councillors to visit the hall and see windows, out of public view, which were allowed to be replaced with uPVC and see how similar they are to the traditional ones at the front.

And he says: “I would also like to say we cannot afford wooden windows from a cost point of view and ongoing maintenance. We have also experienced massive energy cost increases and the inefficiency of our windows are not helping.”

The hall was granted planning permission five years ago to replace windows which are not visible from High Street, which it faces onto, with uPVC alternatives.

Planning officers refused to allow the large visible windows to be replaced with the modern materials and received one public objection on the grounds of the impact on the character of the area.

Refusing planning permission, officers said that the thicker frames would be harmful to the character and appearance of the building and the wider conservation area.

The review body meets on Thursday to hear the appeal.