Homeowner wins appeal
Guildford Council was crystal clear about the property specifications, for Waterden Road, a Conservation Area, which they controlled, that banned plastic windows.
This presented one resident of Churchill Road, which falls within this conservation area, with a familiar dilemma; should they apply and fight the council or do as so many other residents have done, and install windows of their choosing, without permission?
Like so many areas of the country, owners feel upset when they see others install windows without permission, but fear they’ll be rejected if they submit plans for approval.
As a result, Councils across the country have seen hundreds of homes destroyed with hideous, improper casement windows often because Permitted Development Rights allowed them, or in Article 4 Restricted areas, without proper permission.
In this case, the homeowner decided to replace his own unsightly, existing tilt and turn windows upstairs (that a previous owner had unlawfully fitted) with Bygone sash windows, without applying for planning permission. This is not a move we would ever condone or support, because besides being illegal, the financial consequences of correcting things later are significant.
However, during the replacement operation, the council insisted on a “cease and desist order” stopping the works immediately!
The homeowner thought that a sash window, regardless of material, had to be better than the awful upstairs tilt-turn windows, which had destroyed any character of the building. They were however adamant, that the windows should be first-class, which actually retained everything they loved about the local area and neighbouring properties.
So passionate about the local area and their beautiful new sash windows, and unable to understand why they should not be permitted, they were determined to win the council round, challenging them to look for themselves.
Despite being unwilling to even view the property initially, the ultra-anti PVC-U council took a closer look after a heartfelt plea and acknowledged that they were in fact everything the homeowner had claimed them to be, they granted retrospective approval.
The council realised how much the owner cared about the appearance of his property, how much better these sash windows were to the previous tilt turn windows, and how much effort he had made to find “windows of such superior quality that it would be impossible to distinguish between them and the originals of timber”.
The installer, delighted with the decision, was allowed to resume work and complete the installation, the council was happy the new sash windows, were in keeping with the surroundings and the homeowner delighted they have beautiful new energy-efficient windows.