The application was refused on 21 March 2019. In its handling report, accessible at 18/10070/FUL, the Council's Planning Officer wrote:
"The Grange Conservation Area Character Appraisal (GCACA) has recently been reviewed. It warns of the pressures faced within the conservation area on the setting of villas and garden grounds as well as the separation between buildings. It says that:
There may be continuing pressure for the demolition of certain villas and redevelopment of the grounds, and the development of empty feus or parcels of garden land. Contrasting, non-traditional materials and design in contemporary new-build and extensions could threaten the character of the area if used indiscriminately or excessively. Multiple developments in close proximity can have a negative cumulative effect on character.
"It goes on to say that:
key elements of the area's special characteristics are potentially at risk through such development, such as the separation/distinction between buildings and the important gaps between them. This type of development may also risk the creation of uncharacteristic expanses of hard landscaping and parking, and the loss of green landscaping and trees.
"The GCACA also states that:
building line and separation are of key importance. The separation of dwellings creates a characteristic rhythm and solid-void repetition between precisely-sited structures of similar scale and massing. The spacious gardens provide an important setting for the buildings and mature trees within. The gaps between buildings are important in maintaining the dominant green character, a sense of generous space, and glimpse views of rear and side gardens.
"This part of the conservation area is characterised by large villas in substantial garden grounds. Building an additional house within the garden area of the application property would be at odds with the urban grain of the area. The proposals would result in the erosion of the established character of the area of large houses with leafy garden spaces between those houses, a risk identified in the GCACA, and to the detriment of the character of the conservation area.
"It is recognised that on Grange Road there are a number of side garage extensions to these villas not dissimilar to that at no 42. The applicant has cited examples of new developments given permission in the Grange Conservation Area. However, the gradual diminution of the traditional urban grain of large houses separated by garden grounds is occurring as a result of these new developments. The cumulative impact of these types of developments is adversely impacting the character of the Grange Conservation Area.
"The application proposes a single storey structure in an area that is characterised by two storey villas. In terms of design it uses traditional features and detailing. However, as single storey house it will be at odds with the character of the immediate area and will harm the appearance of the conservation area.
"The proposed dwelling would infill the space that currently exists between nos. 40 and 42/44 Grange Road and would replace the unattractive garage and entrance area. However, the new dwelling will be larger in terms of its footprint and height. It will have far more visual impact from Grange Road than the existing structure and will adversely impact the appearance of green gardens and sense of generous space that is highlighted in the GCACA. The loss of the existing unattractive garage structure is not justification for the building of a new dwelling in this area.
"The proposed new dwelling is contrary to Policy Env 6 of the LDP in that it neither preserves not enhances the special character and appearance of the conservation area, is inconsistent with the relevant CACA and does not demonstrate a high level of design suitable to its historic environment.
"The proposed design is a 'pastiche' of the architecture of the area in that it uses traditional detailing although its scale is of a single storey bungalow in an area that is dominated primarily by two storey villas. If considered as an extension to the existing villa, even though it would be a separate planning unit, the scale of the building is excessive and would dominate the original building to the detriment of its character. By adding a large projection to the side of the front elevation it would erode the integrity of the original design of the villa.
"A new dwelling in the garden grounds of the villa would be inappropriate in terms of positioning and would fail to contribute positively towards a sense of place and would be damaging to the character and appearance of the area around it. It would be incompatible with the original building. It is therefore contrary to Policies Des 1, Des 4, Des 12 and the Edinburgh Design Guidance."