Sash Windows in a Conservation Area

Homeowners with properties in conservation areas will have restrictions on the type of new windows and doors they can fit to their houses.

Rules and regulations exist to protect the appearance and character of properties and impact the choice of window design and the materials used. Installing new sash windows or repairing and refurbishing existing sliding sash windows requires a window installation company to have an excellent working knowledge of the parameters they are allowed to work within.

What is a Conservation Area?

The concept of a conservation area applies to an area of a city, town or village with a particular historic or architectural interest. The designation’ conservation area’ means that the buildings cannot be changed to alter their appearance or character. The rules and regulations apply to buildings and also any trees around them.

The original idea was proposed by a woman called June Hargreaves, a town planner in York, and the 1967 Civic Amenities Act introduced conservation areas as a defined legal concept. England’s first new conservation area was the old town centre of Stamford in Lincolnshire. There has been subsequent legislation since 1967 which has superseded the original statute, and by 2017, there were 9,800 conservation areas in England, just over half of which are in rural areas.

The Rules and Regulations of Conservation Areas

Everyone knows that windows are a vital part of the appearance of a period property. They are often the hallmark that dates the house architecturally and are always a special feature. However, windows also have to serve a practical purpose by allowing light and ventilation and not leaching heat for optimal thermal regulation.

The window repair and replacement rules for conservation area homes are far from black and white, and every case is different, even though your house may be very similar to one next door or down the road. The local authority looks after the protection of properties in these areas, and it’s essential that a window company works closely with the local authority officers. Window companies used to working in conservation areas will often have liaised with that local authority before on other projects.

Depending on the proposed changes, homeowners don’t always need permission, but it’s always best to check first otherwise, the local authority may require the removal or adjustment of new windows or refurbishment work. Householders’ twin drivers are usually repairs to restore an old window and thermal regulation and draughtproofing efficiency. Most homeowners want to keep period windows, but they also want them to be in excellent condition and look good plus operate as a functional and efficient unit.

Restoration or Full Window Replacement?

Window restoration work does not usually require permission under the regulations, although there may still be issues with the choice of materials and paint colour. Total window replacement will require close contact with the local authority to ensure that the design and construction of the windows and materials fall within the regulations’ parameters.

Single versus Double Glazing

Many period properties have single glazing, which can be thermally inefficient, noisy and draughty. Unfortunately, standard double glazing isn’t usually permitted in conservation areas as it drastically changes the appearance of a property. However, nowadays, there are options to provide homeowners with the benefits of double glazing whilst retaining all the characteristics of old period windows. This is achieved mainly with vacuum double glazing using products like Fineo glass.

Fineo glass offers the same thermal value and performance as standard triple glazing but within an incredibly lightweight and thin product. Its appearance usually means it is acceptable in conservation areas, and it can be fitted to existing sash windows because it is very light. Old frames won’t usually support heavier double glazing anyway. Products like Fineo also offer excellent soundproofing for roadside properties; many character properties are adjacent to busy roads. Fineo can reduce noise levels to anywhere up to 12db.

We manufacture sliding sash windows for period and contemporary properties and regularly work with property owners in conservation areas to comply with regulations for design and materials. We also repair and restore sash windows in situ and in our workshops. We can combine conservation area compliance with materials that optimise thermal regulation, draught sealing, acoustic control and security for a functional, authentic and aesthetically appealing finish.

Contact us here to learn more about bespoke sash window design and installation, plus our repair and restoration services.