High-End uPVC Sash Windows

Sash windows are quintessentially British; they’re an important part of our architectural heritage and have been since the late 17th century.

However original, single-glazed sash windows lack security, are often draughty and cold and—unless properly maintained throughout their lifetime—are often found in a state of disrepair. As a result, many original sash windows have been replaced, often with low-cost casement windows.

Fortunately, measures have been introduced to stop this process. Sensitive and important buildings are granted Listed status, which prevents any changes being made to the fabric or appearance of the building. More commonly, areas of architectural or historic interest are designated as conservation areas which helps preserve their character and appearance.

This is where Roseview sash windows come in. Sensitively-designed, high-end uPVC sash windows can bridge the gap between low-cost, inappropriate casement windows and expensive, high-maintenance timber replacements in traditional and conservation settings, including conservation areas.

Conservation & Planning

Conservation areas and planning permission can be daunting—the subject is shrouded in uncertainty and misconceptions.

This is understandable, as conservation lacks a single defining authority. Instead there’s various legislation that devolves most of the decision-making to local authorities, who in turn interpret things differently. This lack of clarity can restrict installers and homeowners, by needlessly limiting their options.

Fortunately planning and conservation isn’t as daunting as it first appears. It can be simplified into five categories.

Heritage rose windows on brick house

Planning Permission

By default, building works require planning permission. However many minor works—including replacement windows and doors—are included in the framework of “permitted developments”, where explicit planning permission is not required unless something else (e.g. a conservation area) is also in place.

Honey House

Permitted Development

In most situations Permitted Development (Class A) allows for windows and doors to be replaced without planning permission, as long as the replacements have a “similar visual appearance” to the existing. This term is key, as it doesn’t specify materials.

There are some restrictions to Permitted Development. It only applies to single dwellings, not subdivided buildings (like flats), buildings with a commercial element or properties that have had a change of use (e.g. barn conversions). Also previously granted planning permission may remove subsequent Permitted Development.

Crucially, a conservation area does NOT automatically remove windows from Permitted Development.


Conservation Areas

The two most common misconceptions we come across are that changing windows in a conservation area requires approval, and that replacements must match original materials. Neither of these are automatically true. 

In terms of planning, conservation areas on their own have little meaning. A home in a conservation area is subject to the same rules as anywhere else, unless Permitted Development has been specifically removed or altered (typically by an Article 4 Direction).

It is also important to note that “similar visual appearance” does not include materials. In fact the technical guidance on Permitted Development (section A.2) uses replacement uPVC windows as an example of permitted change.

However, in conservation areas “similar visual appearance” will probably come under more scrutiny than usual. Also, if original windows have already been changed (e.g. from sash to casement), then changing them back counts as altering the visual appearance. That said, in conservation areas it’s a change that most authorities are likely to support.


Article 4 Directions

These are used by local authorities to revoke or alter what falls under Permitted Development, pushing those works back into the planning process.

The use of Article 4s varies widely between different authorities; some don’t use them at all, others apply them across all their conservation areas. They can affect whole or parts of conservation areas, or just individual buildings. They can also remove certain features from Permitted Development, such as the front elevation of buildings but not the sides or backs. Therefore it is important to check the wording of the Article 4 Direction carefully.

listed buildings

Listed Buildings

Listed buildings fall outside of the standard planning framework. Any alterations that affect their character, appearance or special interest status require specific Listed Building Consent, which considers both appearance and materials.

Listed Building Consent is granted by local authority planning departments following consultation with Historic England (or equivalent). Making changes without consent is a criminal offence for both the owner and the contractor.

Can I use uPVC in a conservation area?

The short answer is “Yes, often within permitted development rights. You won’t need planning permission as long the new windows have a “similar visual appearance” to the existing windows, and permitted development hasn’t been revoked.”

Normally the key factor will be appearance, not materials. Only listed buildings and some Article 4 Directions insist on using original materials like timber and steel. Ultimately if there’s any doubt, seek advice. Speaking to the conservation officer or planning department will often clarify things. If there’s an Article 4 Direction in place, check the wording carefully. Usually these two acts will confirm what’s covered by Permitted Development and what requires a planning application.

For more detailed information refer to the relevant legislation—the key ones are the Town and Country Planning Act (1990), Planning (Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas) Act (1990) and Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order (2015)—or consult a specialist conservation planning service.

heritage upvc sash windows

Our Ultimate Rose

  • Class leading windows with woodgrain finishes
  • Industry leading slim sightlines
  • Putty effect glass lines
  • Timber style mechanical joints
  • In house design, run through sash horns

Features like these make all the difference. When our sash windows are fitted, many find it hard to spot the difference between Ultimate Rose and traditional timber.

Where original windows have been replaced with inappropriate alternatives, The Rose Collection can help restore a building to its original appearance. At Roseview Windows, we are passionate about keeping history in the present. With our sensitively designed, high end uPVC sash windows, the conservation market can trust us as the best manufacturer of timber alternative sash windows.

Our Approach

We take a proactive approach to conservation areas. Conservation officers and the English Heritages are informed on the benefits of our sensitively designed uPVC sash windows – as we are a member of the Glass and Glazing Federation’s Heritage Group.

We regularly talk to conservation officers, so we can demonstrate why our windows are the best alternative to original timber windows. Our efforts have led Roseview products to be accepted in dozens of conservation projects across the UK.


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