A pair of chimneys that were shortened due to safety concerns will have to be reinstated at their original height, the council has ruled.
The two structures, on the roof of the Conservative and Unionist Club on High Street, were each reduced by 50cm last August, but the district council decided this week that a retrospective planning application for the work should be refused.
A planning officer’s report said: “While the property is not listed and does not sit within the conservation area, the reduction in the height of the chimneys is out of character with the historic building.
“It is considered that part of the building’s charm is lost as a result of the Edwardian chimney pots, brick detailing and different coloured brick being taken away.
“The removal of the chimneys fundamentally changes the character and appearance of the building, and the replacement chimneys are out of keeping with the style of the building.”
According to the applicant, the reason for shortening the chimneys was to “make them safe and secure” because “they were in a dangerous state of repair and a danger to the public”, but that was not enough to assuage the fears of the district council.
The authority’s report added: “Insufficient information has been submitted to determine the safety issue for the loss of the two original chimneys.
“Should later evidence be submitted, it does not outweigh the loss of the chimney features that adds to the charm of this building within a prominent location in the market town of Biddulph and therefore, should be reinstated.”