Conservation areas and listed buildings are places that are protected by local planning authorities, supported by heritage trusts, which demonstrate a special architectural of historical interest. In many cases these sites are protected by planning permissions which prevent any additional building work to be undertaken on the property or piece of land.
This isn't true all the time, however, and in cases where it can be proven that improvements to the building (like installing oak windows!), can actually enhance the property and improve its longevity, permission is often granted.
This can be a real pain for a lot of people, and we have a great deal of our clients annoyed by the process they have to go through just to install new windows. We hear you! But there's an often overlooked facet to this story that I think many people ignore as it causes them an inconvenience.
Conservation areas and listed buildings are extremely important pieces of our shared cultural heritage. They are as important as the pieces of art that hang in the national galleries; they are snapshots of our past, of artistic expression, technology and innovation.
Conservation areas themselves vary greatly in their nature, ranging from centuries old market towns to remote fishing villages and even a whole city centre. However, it's not just the architecture and the visage of the buildings that makes these areas so important, it's their legacy laid out in the way the roads meander – the cobblestones underfoot, which all contribute to the place's organic character. It is the cherished local 'feeling' that is preserved for generations to enjoy.
Listed building, as you might imagine, are solely the building which have been protected. These can often fall within conservation areas, or can be stand alone properties with their own distinct and important heritage. In the UK around 2.5% of these are of international importance, bringing in a great deal of tourist trade. These places are simply drenched in history and include the phenomenal architecture of Queens' College Cambridge and Buckingham Palace.
Not all of the country’s listed buildings are these grand world renowned structures, however, with over 94% given the classification of Grade II. These places demonstrate special architectural significance, such as the stone cottages you find dotted throughout the countryside, or some of the grand Victorian town houses sat astride wide London streets.
Without an organisation put in place to protect these places, we would lose so much of what makes England and the UK beautiful and unique. These places are part of the rich tapestry that has been woven by this country's wild and varied history! A world without these stunning structures lacks character and colour, and we would hate to see it changed.
Image by Salford City Council
We often get many clients coming to us looking for new windows to match their property. They've decided that they need to update their current frames, but have no idea what they want at all. They turn to us and say, “should I get sash or casement windows?” and, well, it's hard to say really.
Both designs offer similar energy saving and noise reduction properties, and a lot of it comes down to the kind of aesthetic you would like. In some cases, the structure of the property will influence the decision, but there is no golden rule to fit all.
So we thought we would give you an outline of their properties, so you can decide for yourself which you think are the best for your home.
These are the kind that swing in or out like a door, and can either be hinged on the sides or on the top or bottom. In most cases these windows will require a large sill area to facilitate their use, with many narrow town houses unable to accommodate their structure. Those that can, however, get the benefit of being able to fully open their windows, which can attract 'side-breezes' into your property.
It is possible to get windows that will be fit into a sill-less property, though these are most likely to be bottom or top hung as opposed to being hinged on the sides.
In properties that do offer large sill areas, they definitely suit the aesthetic a lot more than sash windows do. That's the beauty of casement, it's a dynamic structure that can really add a depth to a room. It's also true that generally casement windows can come in fancier designs due to the fact that they are aren't restricted by their mechanism like sash windows are.
A drawback is that they can look a little dated. Casement windows were very popular in the last century and became almost ubiquitous, however recently we have seen a change in popularity back to sash frames. That said, our casement windows come in modern design and can really compliment a more contemporary property.
Well, pretty much opposite of the above. Sash windows are a great system that maximises space. They don't require large sills at all, meaning that those properties in inner cities that are lacking space will often benefit a great deal more from sash installation.
In the British climate, they also give you the option to open them only slightly, allowing in a breeze whilst keeping out any excess rain. Their design also means that by and large they are less susceptible to distortion due to the fact that they are encased within a box.
Whilst their popularity is on the rise, they also suffer from certain drawbacks, like being less secure; and more prone to drafts and rattling. However, with our designs and other modern advancements in technology, these issues are pretty much part of the past.