Living in a conservation area is a great privilege – and means your home is likely to be worth more than an equivalent that is not in a conservation area. But it also means you can’t always do what you want with the exterior of your house. For example, the replacement of windows and doors in conservation areas can be a grey area, depending on where you live. Some local authorities have enforced Article 4 Directions, which means that they can make restrictions on small home alterations, including the replacement of windows.
These restrictions help to protect the visual character of conservation areas by preventing unsympathetic home alterations. In those areas that have enforced Article 4 Directions, there will always be a debate over whether to repair, replicate or replace the window. If you are planning to replicate or replace the window, then you will need to detail these in writing to the local planning office.
In your application you need to show that you’ve considered local building styles and history, as well as landscape elements. Thankfully, there is a wealth of information that can be sourced via the internet, and English Heritage is always a good place to start to find out more information on your local area.
The sympathetic replacement of windows will not only maintain the visual character of your property but will also enhance its value. Due to advances in manufacturing processes it is now possible to source wooden windows and doors that replicate the look and feel of your existing windows, whilst providing enhanced thermal and acoustic performance.
To find high performance manufacturers, a good place to start is the Wood Window Alliance (WWA), website. Part of the British Woodworking Federation, the WWA is a membership organisation of high quality timber window and door manufacturers. A focus for the WWA is protecting the aesthetics of conservation areas. A great resource is their guide to Replacing windows in conservation areas. In fact, some of the WWA members have a specialist range of wooden windows and doors for properties in conservation areas. One such member is George Barnsdale who have worked with conservation officers, building control officers and architects on the development of their Historic Range.
Amanda Chesson, George Barnsdale and Sons