Parish Council News

Replacement Windows in Mawsley!

The following article has been written by Cllr White:

There has recently been a change in the way Kettering Borough Council Planning department have viewed planning applications for replacement uPVC windows in Mawsley.

This change has had a significant effect on those houses in the Village which have planning restrictions, where they are in an area of acknowledged importance.   This restriction is based on Article 4 of The Town & Country Planning Order.  Article 4 directions are used to control works that could threaten the character of an area, such as a conservation area.

Up until around 2 years ago Kettering Borough Council would only accept timber windows as replacements in Article 4 areas in Mawsley and uPVC was considered completely inappropriate. This caused a high level of consternation in the village as typically the original windows were of a low speciation and many have become rotten.

Now uPVC windows (of the correct design and specification) are accepted for Article 4 areas in Mawsley. So what happened?

Two years ago I offered to write a detailed window and door specification for submission to KBC and lobbied them to change their views given that uPVC window designs were now available that emulated the design, appearance  and dimensional shape of original Georgian style timber windows. Working in conjunction with James Hakewill, our Borough and County Councillor we were able to influence the situation.

However KBC wanted to only approve the uPVC window designs that were “replicas” of the original windows with flush sashes. As these heritage style windows are specialist they can be significantly more expensive than standard uPVC windows. Most standard uPVC windows are 70mm “thick” from front to back with a typical Window Energy Rating of ‘A’ ( the same principal as fridges, freezers, cookers etc. in the home). It is all about thermal performance i.e. energy loss, in simple terms).

The Heritage style windows are often “thicker” than standard uPVC 70mm systems with 83mm or even 100mm front to back. They consist of a multi-chamber construction which helps improve thermal performance and some systems are ‘A+’ or even ‘A++’ energy rated.

So why did I get involved?  I am a Mawsley resident of 14 years and have been involved in the window and door design and performance industry for over 35 years working for two major US and German international companies as the UK Commercial Director. Specialising in the physical security, durability and weather performance of windows and doors, I was instrumental in setting up a leading UKAS accredited Window and Door Test laboratory here in Kettering.

I hold an Advanced Certificate in Environmental Design & Crime Prevention from Oxford Brookes University. This is the same qualification that many Police Crime Prevention Design Advisors hold.

In very recent times KBC planning have relaxed their strict rules on the window design style criteria so village residents should now have a greater choice of supplier, although KBC have retained some key requirements.

Georgian bars are a key feature. These can sometimes be included INSIDE the double glazed unit. The advantage is that they create the appearance of the original Georgian bar and at the same time make it easier to clean the glass. In Article 4 areas KBC consider these do not fulfil the appearance requirements so want the Georgian bars to be on the surface of the glass so they look like the original timber windows (makes it more difficult to clean the glass though!). Georgian bar is a generic term in the industry and they can sometimes be called astragals or muntins.

Other requirements are wood grain effect uPVC (to help disguise the welded corners), stub cills/ sills and attention to the external appearance of the trickle vents.

There are estimated to be about 12,500 “double glazing” companies in the UK but more than 11,000 DO NOT manufacture but buy in and just install. Direct sell companies like Anglian, Safestyle and Everest tend to employ commission based sales people whereas local installers and builders often do not.

I hope this summary of the current replacement window situation, as I see it, helps village residents who are thinking of having their windows replaced. KBC have said that they will consider all Article 4 planning applications on their own merit based on location and building style. Always worth talking to them before submitting an application!


Kevin White

March 2018