Conservation Work

repair, replicate, replace

The visual character of conservation areas is under threat from unsympathetic replacement windows and doors. In most conservation areas nothing is done to stop the tide of PVC-u replacement windows, while elsewhere Conservation Officers and Building Inspectors argue over the authenticity of single-glazing versus the energy and acoustic efficiency of new high performance wooden windows. This conflict can be resolved by specifying traditionally detailed, high performance timber replacement windows that meet the current Building Regulations while incorporating traditional sightlines.

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Conservation areas and what they mean

Since 1967, some 9,300 conservation areas have been designated across England, giving the local authority extra controls over demolition, minor developments (such as certain types of cladding, inserting dormer windows and putting up satellite dishes visible from the street) and the protection of trees. Under legislation introduced in 1995, local authorities can make further restrictions on the kind of alterations allowed, depending on how these might affect the key elements of buildings in the conservation area. Examples include putting up porches, painting a house a different colour, or changing distinctive doors, windows or other architectural details. The local authority has to take account of public views before doing so. These restrictions are called Article 4 Directions

Character and Value of a building

Windows are one of the most important design features of a building. Even small changes have a significant effect on its appearance. The position of the window in the opening, the proportions of the sashes, the arrangement of the opening lights, the thickness and profile of glazing bars and rails, the joints, the frame material, even the glass itself, all have an effect on the appearance of the window and its appropriateness.

A well-presented home is worth more than one that shows signs of neglect or an inappropriate 'make-over'. A national survey of Estate Agents carried out by English Heritage found: 'Unsympathetic replacement windows and doors, particularly plastic/PVC-u, are the single biggest threat to property values in conservation areas.'

Facts

  • Timber Windows can still be economically manufactured

  • Accoya Timber ensures windows and other external joinery has a guarantee of at least 50 years.

  • Detrimental changes to one property can visually harm neighbouring properties.

  • The investment of reintroducing original features into period properties will always pay back as it will considerably increase the value and marketability of the property.

  • Stained and leaded glass can be repaired and is still manufactured by many companies today.

  • The Council will take enforcement action against owners who carry out works without planning/listed building consent. This could involve removal of works and prosecution.

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