Window replacement policy

This summarises the Council's policy on replacement windows with particular reference to uPVC windows in historic properties.

General policy

Scarborough, Whitby and Filey are important seaside resorts where it is important to look after the unique historic environment which attracts so many visitors and residents. In addition, there are many attractive rural villages where the special beauty or character depends on a unique blend of local materials and design features.

The aim of the Council is to ensure that alterations or repairs to Listed Buildings and property in Conservation Areas protect and improve historic buildings and do not destroy or dilute the special architectural quality of the area. In general terms, the Council will resist proposals for replacement windows which do not fit in with the character of the area or the traditional design and materials used on an historic building.

The Council aim to adopt a firm and consistent approach to replacement windows which encourages or requires the use of proper designs and materials and opposes the introduction or spread of inappropriate designs and materials, such as PVCu in historic properties.

Listed buildings

Listed Buildings are those buildings which are of national historic and/or architectural importance.

Listed Building consent will be required for alterations to, or replacement of, windows in a Listed Building, unless it is an exact and precise replica of the existing historic, traditional, design.

It is a criminal offence for an owner, tenant or a contractor to alter a Listed Building without consent, and therefore proposals should be checked with the Council to establish if consent is required. The Council will encourage owners of Listed Buildings which already have windows of an inappropriate design to replace them, rather than replicate a poor design with new windows of the same design.

On Listed Buildings, the replacement of windows by modern units which are not in authentic materials, design and detail (including mass produced units) will be unacceptable on all elevations other than in exceptional circumstances.

Usually, the required replacement window will be a wood sliding sash design including any glazing bars, horns deep bottom rail etc. uPVC or aluminium replacements are not acceptable on Listed Buildings.

Buildings in Conservation Areas

Replacement windows in Conservation Areas may need permission. The need for permission should be checked before proceeding with plans.

Conservation Areas are areas where the Council has a duty to preserve or enhance the special character of the area. Within those areas will be Listed Buildings, unlisted buildings of high quality and modern buildings of a different character.

On period properties in the Conservation Areas built prior to 1914 the replacement of windows by modern units which are not in authentic materials, design and details (including the use of off-the-peg units) will be unacceptable on front or other principal elevations.

uPVC or aluminium replacements of any design are not acceptable on these principal elevations. ‘Imitation’ designs such as tilt and turn or false sashes are not acceptable replacements for sliding sash windows. Exceptions may be made on rear elevations which are hidden from view, but even here the uPVC replacements should be of a design which reflects the authentic window style for that building.

Period properties are:

  • a building of architectural distinction or interest;
  • where a building makes a substantial contribution to the character or appearance of the area;
  • where the change would interrupt the integrity of a terrace or a unified design group;
  • where the design already incorporates sliding sash windows as part of the design.

Where the building is not a period property as described above (eg a 1960's block of flats) uPVC or aluminium windows may be acceptable if the new windows match the existing as closely as possible in terms of style, rail and mullion proportions, depth of reveal, method of operation and amount of frame exposed, all in accordance with 1:10 scale details which shall be submitted with the application. Visible gaskets and seals shall be white.

Advice on windows which may meet these criteria is available from the Planning Office.

Buildings outside the Conservation Areas

Permission will be required on buildings other than single dwelling houses. Some dwelling houses will have planning conditions attached which require permission to be sought for replacements.

On these buildings, the policies for Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas do not apply, and plans will be judged on their merits. Windows in blocks of, or buildings with, flats should be of the same design.

Window repair in historic buildings

The repair or refurbishment or replacement of traditional wood windows is often a more cost-effective process than replacement windows of a new material.

New double glazed and fully draught-proofed sliding sash or traditional timber windows with the same or better thermal efficiency than uPVC/aluminium are available on the market.

Timber windows can be easily repaired by local joiners without the need for wholesale replacement.

Secondary double glazing can be effective in providing additional noise or thermal insulation.

Existing sliding sash or other timber windows can be repaired by specialist companies (eg Ventrolla or local joiners) to provide full thermal efficiency seals, smooth sliding mechanisms and/or inward tilting for cleaning.