Saturday, 23 January 2016

Conservation from two sides

Mr FF is currently doing battle with our conservation officer for permission to replace four bedroom windows in our apartment with double glazed units that would be more serviceable than the current wooden sash and case frames.  We are at the 4th floor, unable to open the windows wide enough to clean the outside and totally unable to maintain the frames and cills, which is recommended every year for wooden windows.  
Window washing, which is part of our service charge, has to be done by specialist cleaners abseiling from the roof.  At present the rope anchors are not fit for purpose and we haven't had the windows cleaned for over a year.   The conservation officer insists we won't be able to retain the finer details of wood with windows in aluminium or upvc, that will be the finer details that are so visible 4 floors up.  We continue the battle and are adamant that we won't use wood again,  the current single glazed windows are only about 12 years old and already splitting, rotting and sticking, one is totally distorted and unopenable. Last year we obtained listed building and planning approval for aluminium doors and windows in the lounge, it doesn't really make sense that we can't do the same with the other windows on the same elevation. We would replicate the current style and appearance with double glazed windows and cills that require no regular maintenance and could be opened inwards for cleaning.  We sleep with a bedroom window open year round but every morning when I wipe up the pools of condensation, see the state of the outside cills and the black mould growing on the inside frames I get so cross that we are so restricted.
However, despite our disagreement with the guardians of our heritage, I was very pleased to read that we have this beautiful piece of sculpture in our town that has recently been recognised as worth preserving.  
The sculpture, the Story of Wool, on a building that used to be the International Wool Secretariat in Valley Drive, Ilkley, is among 41 public sculptures across England being given listed status by Historic England (formerly knows as English Heritage).  There is more information about the wonderful sculpture, the artist and the building here.
You can read about other recently listed sculptures here, who knows there may be some treasure near you, they are all free to view so just look around.
I always knew I was living in the right place, this celebration of all things sheepy just confirms it.  


  1. The window business is a shame. Can you enlist the aid of some health officer about the mold?

  2. Jenny, how frustrated you must be over the window issue. Beurocracy can be so annoying can't it? On the other hand, I agree with you - that sculpture does uplift the soul above the debate somewhat.

  3. Good luck with the 'battle'! Sounds like common sense to me to get them replaced. Ros

  4. I can understand your frustration, especially as you have already replaced some! Having lived in a house with wooden window frames, I would never have them again! The upkeep was a total nightmare! Good luck!

  5. Hopefully when your windows rot away and fall out they will land on the head of the conservation officer, as he gazes up to make sure you haven't replaced them with something sensible!! Seriously though, I sometimes think these people impose these restrictions simply because they can! Yes, we want to preserve our heritage, but we also have to accommodate the practicalities of life.