Planners block attempt to fit uPVC windows in St Albans conservation area property

Flats in Millers Rise

Flats in Millers Rise - Credit: Archant

Being located in St Albans’ conservation area has put paid to a householder’s attempts to replace timber windows with uPVC, despite them being in a poor condition.

Windows on the flats in Millers Rise

Windows on the flats in Millers Rise - Credit: Archant

St Albans district council refused Jack Titmuss’s application to replace six windows with rosewood colour uPVC at a block of flats in Millers Rise in Sopwell.

The authority said the proposal was not acceptable as the man-made material was “not traditional or natural as would be appropriate within this part of the St Albans conservation area”.

An appeal has now been lodged with the Secretary of State to decide whether the windows can be replaced with modern frames.

St Albans Civic Society had objected to the plan, calling the replacement windows inappropriate for the conservation area and expressing a preference for traditional timber windows to be retained.

In his appeal letter to the planning inspectorate, Mr Titmuss claimed that flats in a neighbouring building had used uPVC windows.

He said: “I could understand if the whole area was not allowed to use uPVC windows but this isn’t the case. It seems to be one rule for one, and another rule for others.

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“The current windows are in very bad condition. These need replacing and will … improve the living environment for the tenants living there.

“This block of flats was built around 1993-94, so I’m not convinced by the argument that some sort of historical and cultural heritage can be applied to the design of this block of flats.

“These windows will be rosewood and look almost identical, with the only difference being these are made from uPVC which will not rot and are easier to maintain. The current windows are very inefficient and environmentally unfriendly. Lots of heat escapes and soundproofing is very poor. You can hear the noise from the children’s nursery next door very clearly.”

The planning inspectorate is considering its response.