Should I keep the sashes?

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Should I keep the sashes?

Post by R TINY » Thu 31st Mar, 2005 4:57 pm

I live in a victorian terraced house in a run down area of the town where I live. The area has been named as a regeneration area, which means that the council pays to do up the houses. My house has the original sash windows, which are in OK condition (although some of the cords need replacing). The council wants to replace the windows with UPVC (not sash ones just casement type). I am not very well off and can't afford to do any work myself, but I do own the house, not the council. However, the council tells me that there are only 2 choices rip out the original windows and replace with UPVC or receive no help.

I don't know what to do and I would appreciate opinions about the best course to take. The house has got most of its original features and I feel sad at the prospect of losing the sash windows, although the increased security and draught proofing would be an advantage!



Re: Should I keep the sashes?

Post by siani » Thu 31st Mar, 2005 5:21 pm

keep 'em, and insist on seeing the policies for the regeneration area. it sounds very unlikely that only UPVC is allowed. i suspect they are oversimplifying, and might also offer you a grant for other things, like insulation.

in any case, original windows usually increase a property's value, particularly where there are other original features, so you'd be shooting yourself in the foot a bit to take the nasty plastic ones.

while i'm at it, i have UPVC double glazing in my current and my previous house, and it is *very* drafty. there are gaps around the outsides of the windows, and the wind comes in through all the trim around them, making an "ooooh" noise. UPVC comes in standard sizes, and old window openings usually don't, so installers have to try to fill up gaps and shim windows to keep them in place. and the locks and latches on the windows seem prone to failing, meaning that several windows now won't lock, and others fall out if opened for cleaning.

i would rather have proper old sashes and get some thick curtains to keep the heat in at night!


Re: Should I keep the sashes?

Post by Evelyn » Thu 31st Mar, 2005 5:25 pm

This is appalling!

Can you name and shame this council?

Can you contact your Conservation Officer and ask for his/her advice and support?

Can you contact the local press re the council and loss of out heritage and shocking waste of resources etc?

Can you also contact your council and point out the environmental and aesthetic disaster which are uPVC windows, and ask if they have no shame - or indeed, any policies on the environment?

When the placcy windows and the dg deteriorate, as they will, in the not too distant future, will the council pay again to replace? What about the landfill/disposal problems? And the pollution caused in the manufacture?

Your wooden sashes have been there for over a century. The council should be encouraging you to retain and refurbish.


Re: And....

Post by Evelyn » Thu 31st Mar, 2005 5:41 pm

By the way - this 'regeneration' isn't Pathfinder HMRI is it by any chance?

Also - contact your regional office of English Heritage about this. Ask for the Historic Areas Advisor.


Re: And....

Post by R TINY » Thu 31st Mar, 2005 5:54 pm

I didn't know it was until you mentioned it, but on further looking, yes, I think it is!


Re: And....

Post by Evelyn » Thu 31st Mar, 2005 6:40 pm

Well - how lucky that you aren't being compulsorily purchesed and demolished then!

Which area are you? I am VERY interested in Pathfinders...


Re: Should I keep the sashes?

Post by NDM » Thu 31st Mar, 2005 9:27 pm

Yes definitely -Keep the sashes.

It is not a difficult or expensive job to re-cord a sash window. At the bottom side of the sash box there is a removeable piece of wood (probably well painted over, so you might have to burn off the paint to find it) which can be levered off, if it is pinned in place as mine was. This gives you access to the counterbalance weights. You can then thread new cord over the pulley at the top to tie to the weight. I found that the best way to do this was to start with a short length of metal rod (about 1/4 x 1") tied to cotton thread, then tied to string and finally the sash cord. When I tried pushing the sash cord through directly it got caught up in the rough wood of the sash box and would not come down.
You will also need to take the sash out. The beading on my windows is mitred, so I had to cut mine on one side to lever it out. The cord is simply nailed into a groove at the top of the window (don't forget to pull the weight nearly to the top though!) The re-cording of the top window is more complex, as you have to remove the dividing beading too.
I hope that this is of some help.


Re: Should I keep the sashes?

Post by Evelyn » Thu 31st Mar, 2005 10:13 pm

Sadly, I think the problem here isn't so much the physical difficulty of refurbishing the sashes - which I agree isn't too complex - but the fact that unless the uPVC windows are accepted other monies for upgrading the property will not be forthcoming.

Pathfinder is causing horrendous damage to the historic environment!

The Commons Select Committee report is due out on Tuesday on this...


Re: Should I keep the sashes?

Post by hazel » Fri 1st Apr, 2005 11:25 am

I was ina similar position when I bought this house 25 yaers back - I could have got an 80% grant BUT* - new windows, new front door (there's a crack in a panel) new ceilings (! The large roses, fancy cornices etc!) because there are cracks in th ceilings, remove the original fireplaces (Marble with CI etc all in working order) but keep a 1950's one in the kitchen because it heated the water - it didn't as there was a tank with a gas burner under it in the little bedroom.... In short Everything I'd liked about the house and made me buy it had to go. I couldn't do it bit by bit either but had to get a builder in for the lot. I was a new mother on my own with extremely little income from my he who became my ex. The council said the house would have to be put into a standard that would make it good for 30 years.
I didn't have the work done and still have an unmodernised house 25 years on.
I intend to get central heating and a new bathroom (the only thing I've had done and now past it!!!) but that will be in about 2 years time.

Stick with the sashes!!!!! Do what you can -- Unless you are confident and fairly strong/tough DO NOT attempt to re chord the sashes yourself, it's not as easy as some folk say.

Times and fashions change, the council gutted a house like mine not long after i moved here - now the tennants have bought it and are putting Wicks' polystyrene mouldings and ceiling roses and B&Q fireplaces in................

Best of luck - fight them.


Re: KEEP THE SASHES !!!!!!!!!

Post by Mo » Fri 1st Apr, 2005 12:18 pm

And do as Evelyn suggests - make a big local fuss (if you want someone to help you draft a letter to your local paper, I'm sure someone on this site would be only too happy to assist).
Don't just keep it local, either. A letter to one of the national papers naming and shaming your council would make them sit up. And what about your MP?


Re: Bl**dy PATHFINDER again!

Post by Evelyn » Fri 1st Apr, 2005 12:49 pm

Write to Jeff Rooker (Lord Rooker) as this is yet anther loony waste of public money, and the destruction of our heritage, re Pathfinder...

English Heritage has now produced a document on Pathfinders and historic areas. Trouble is, what SAVE and other heritage groups consider historic those responsible for Pathfinders (by whatever name they are called locally) reckon that the Victorian terraces and other buildings they are keen to dispose of are simply obsolete housing types'. In clearing them they can make nice brownfield sites to be developed in tandem with private developers (who will make a packet) and covered in ticky tacky boxes. Apparently that's what we all want. Sez they.

Many of those whose houses are being demolished are being given derisory compensation. They cannot afford to buy another house with the money, retired people are being told they can take out mortgages to make up the shortfall....

In London, these 'obsolete' housing types would cost a fortune and be snapped up.


Even in areas where people like Urban Splash are keen to show how the houses can be refurbished, they are finding that the VAT situation means they have to virtually demolish the houses, junk most of the interior, or pay VAT at the full rate. Your money, my money...

And here we have a situation where the council has obviously decided that refurbishment is possible, but only if you spoil your house.

Bet they are demanding chemical injection damp proofing, etc etc as well....


Re: Bl**dy PATHFINDER again!

Post by Mo » Fri 1st Apr, 2005 2:54 pm

Evelyn - if you can get hour hands on a copy of the Norwich Plan of 1945 you will see (among all the other horrors they wanted to perpetrate) a plan of a large area of small terrace houses that they planned to demolish and replace with dinky little squares of dinky little boxes.
Luckily most of the Plan never reached fulfilment (which is why our Georgian street is still - mostly - standing), and the terraces are now selling like hot cakes for prices in the region of £120-140k, depending on how many period features they possess. One of these areas has been identified by estate agents for years as The Golden Triangle.


Re: Bl**dy PATHFINDER again!

Post by R TINY » Fri 1st Apr, 2005 4:48 pm

I really appreciate all of your replies on this matter and it has really boosted my confidence to fight the council. Nearly all of the other houses in the area have been modernised and I am just about the only property with the original features intact.

We had a 7ft x 4ft sash window in our dining room and a couple of years ago one of the panes of glass got broken. Instead of helping us to repair the piece of glass (3ft x 1.5 ft), the council ripped the whole sash window out and replaced it with UPVC. I thought it was a bit funny at the time, after all, who in their right mind would rip out a whole window for a broken pane of glass.

I wouldn't put it past the council to have sold the sash to a salvage yard!


Re: Bl**dy PATHFINDER again!

Post by Mo » Fri 1st Apr, 2005 7:30 pm

The suspense is killing me!
Please, please let us know where you live. Won't tell a soul, promise.


Re: Bl**dy PATHFINDER again!

Post by Schoolmarm » Fri 1st Apr, 2005 7:46 pm

If you own the house why did the council get involved a couple of years ago regarding the broken pane of glass?


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