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Sash slashing

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Joined 03-03-2005
Posted on Friday, 17 February, 2006 - 08:28 pm:   

I had a chat with a very helpful guy this week at the council (I think?) who had contacted me in response to my response to a questionnaire about the introduciton of the PFI - private finance initiative - and improving the state of repair of housing stocks in the borough. I asked for more information about what to expect as a leaseholder in a council owned property - who will be liable for 50% of the cost of any improvements they decide to carry out.

One of the obligations they will be fulfilling will be to improve the heating insulation of all council owned properties and this is likely to mean the replacement of original Victorian sash windows with modern windows. I REALLY don't want my sash windows - one of the key things that caused me to fall in love with the place when I bought it - replaced with something modern and nasty (in my opinion anyway). I'm also concerned that ripping out original sash windows in all the council owned properties in the borough that still have them will have a detrimental effect on the character of the locale over all. I fell in love with FH because of the beautiful old Victorian buildings (and the greenery and the Horniman...) I'd be really sad to see it modernised in this way.

The thing is, when it comes to my flat, I will not be given a choice. Plus I'll be liable for the cost into the bargain! Even if I do manage to barricade myself in to prevent the replacement, it's going to look pretty silly from the outside as upstairs will definitely be replaced.

All this is still a couple of years off from happening, but the wheels are in motion now. The nice man told me there will be a meeting for leaseholders about the PFI which would be a good forum for me to air my views about windows. There's no date as yet, but he's going to let me know and I plan to go along and do just that.

I'd be interested to know - does anyone else care about sash windows or am I just a lonely old luddite?
Joined 30-03-2005
Posted on Friday, 17 February, 2006 - 11:03 pm:   


It should be possible to replace original Victorian sash windows with modern sash windows of a similar design. Hopefully they will be double-glazed and will not rattle when the wind blows.
Joined 03-03-2005
Posted on Friday, 17 February, 2006 - 11:46 pm:   

yes, that is possible - expensive, but possible. The guy said I MIGHT be able to negotiate to do that instead of replacing with another design (at my own expense of course). But it certainly won't be what happens in other properties where a it will naturally be a cheaper option that is used. So that still leaves the issue of changing the character of the area.
Joined 30-03-2005
Posted on Saturday, 18 February, 2006 - 12:02 am:   

Personally I hate to see the new windows that have been put in with odd designs.
Perhaps the planning officer would not allow changes of design.
Joined 29-10-2005
Posted on Saturday, 18 February, 2006 - 08:54 am:   

In the Brockley area (Waller Road) numerous applications have been granted to install wooden double glazed sash windows at the front and PVCu at the rear. All made by a social housing landlord. I don't know if the flats were in a conservation area and therefore the frames had to be wooden.

I may have spoken to the same person as Jo108, and I was astonished how much individual leaseholders may be asked to contribute to repairs. I believe recently there was a question or report to the council on the matter.

It may well be in the interest of leaseholders to work together to protect their interests and ensure they obtain value for money.
Joined 17-03-2005
Posted on Saturday, 18 February, 2006 - 07:36 pm:   

Jo,I know how you feel.
I cry when I see some of the upvc disasters in this area on both private and council estates.
I think even the one with the 1930's Crittal windows up near Eliot Bank has had them changed over. Its not necessary - you can get good wooden or composite windows for the same price if you shop around. The problem with sash windows is that they have to be double glazed and certified to meet current standards, and as a result can be heavy and expensive to meet the new building regs. Plus you need to have a strong frame to support the sash box. It all adds up and they tend to have to have to be made by craftsmen rather than factory finished. This proabably will cause issues with getting cost approval from leaseholders.
It might be an idea however to find an alternative design that fits in with the character of the building - I think you can get windows that look like sashes but open like a casement window. Try some companies on the web for information. Velfac do some good composite ones for housing associations, but they are not cheap, but last forever, however I am not sure if they do sashes. I do know how you feel, but unfortunately not everyone is an aesthete- I have known people to chuck out perfectly good traditional leaded light 1930s windows for cheap nasty upvc that instantly devalued their property. Stoopid!!!! Good luck with trying to persuade the council to come up with something good.
Joined 30-03-2005
Posted on Saturday, 18 February, 2006 - 10:37 pm:   

My double glazed windows are hinged, but look like sash windows when closed. They are fitted in the original frames, which seem to be capable of taking the weight.
Some companies can actually make windows out of modern materials that look like the original windows.
The original Victorian sash windows actually seem quite flimsy to me when you see them taken apart!
And they are usually so badly fitting that they let draughts in.
They are ridiculously insecure. a policeman one helped me in through one when I was locked out one day. You can unlock them in 2 seconds with a penknife!
Joined 24-03-2004
Posted on Monday, 20 February, 2006 - 09:57 am:   

Well that depends on what locks you have fitted doesn't it! As for the draughtiness, they perform quite well given that they are 100+ years old - you should have seen my centre pivot 60s ones, 10mm gap all round - absolutely hopeless. If you strip the sashes down, refurbish them and fit weather strips they can be as good as new.
Joined 19-05-2004
Posted on Monday, 20 February, 2006 - 12:59 pm:   

We had laminate glass fitted rather than double glazed - so it fits into the origninal rebate. We were told that this affords the same level of thermal insulation as double glazing - although I doubt this. But at least it will be a shock if anyone tries to smash them!

You could get some advice from 'Box Sash Willy's'. They are no longer on that piece of derelict land just down from the railway bridge, but relocated to Malham Road buisness park. Don't think they trade under this name any more (note that 'sash' simply refers to an open window, 'box sash' in the term you should really be using). I'm not recommending their services as (a) I'm not allowed to and (b) only ever used them for advice. And 'Living South' delivered to the Dulwich Borders, carries several ads for companies renovating (box) sash windows. (but doesn't seem to work)
Joined 03-03-2005
Posted on Tuesday, 21 February, 2006 - 09:05 am:   

Thanks all for the postings and suggestions. I think I'll look into some of the options and do some research so that I have something useful to contribute at the leaseholders meeting.

I think the posher at the front than at the back approach is a good one, and also the casement windows that look like sashes when closed are both good ideas to submit to the council.

Loneranger - I'd be interested in working together with other leaseholders. The first thing I think is to attend the leaseholders meeting. When I find out more about it, I'll post details on here, and also feed back what happens afterwards.

Baggydave - I did recently get a quote from BSW to make two new sash windows for me but was not that impressed by the quality of workmanship of their display pieces. And if those are their showpieces, you've got to ask yourself what the final product will be like. Also, although they weren't the most expensive quote I had of 3, they were double the price of the guy I finally went with. Although I actually chose him on quality not price - it was just lucky for me he was cheaper. I can't name him here, but if anyone wants to know who it is at any point, supply your email and I'll forward you the details. Mind you, my new windows are due to be fitted tomorrow morning, so it remains to be seen if they really are as good as I hope they are. Watch this space...
Joined 29-10-2005
Posted on Tuesday, 21 February, 2006 - 10:33 am:   

I'm not a leaseholder and I doubt you will be asked to pay the amounts below for your windows but it was answer(1) to a question by Cllr Morris last December that concerned me.

Question by Councillor Morris of the Cabinet Member for Housing

What specific measures are being taken to reduce the increased debts owed to Lewisham Council by leaseholders?

The increase in leasehold debt is a reflection of:

(1) the increasing level of major and refurbishment works to our
stock including the large regeneration programmes across the
borough. In some cases leasehold bills have ranged between
£10,000 - £46,000 per unit;

(2) the need for the Council to balance the recovery of service
charges by the individual circumstances of leaseholders, taking
into account the Council's equalities impact assessment

(3) the option for leaseholders to pay for bills (especially large ones) by instalment over 10 months or a longer period, based on individual circumstances of lessees.

In connection with a petition from Honor Oak leaseholders the following is part of a answer given to Cllr. Flood by the Mayor:-

...In the meantime, leaflets on ‘paying your major works invoice’ have been sent to Honor Oak leaseholders detailing the options available for
paying for the works when final invoices are received.

Where bills for major works are in excess of £10,000, a panel of senior officers will meet after the invoices are raised, to consider how the criteria for discretion will be applied as directed by the Secretary of State for the Environment. Under the Directions, charges cannot be reduced to below £10,000.
Joined 03-03-2005
Posted on Tuesday, 21 February, 2006 - 04:02 pm:   

If I get a bill like that, it will be the final straw in a long line of big straws
Joined 19-05-2004
Posted on Tuesday, 21 February, 2006 - 05:41 pm:   

BSW weren't actually very helpful to me, but I always liked the name. Be interested to hear of the outcome.
Joined 03-03-2005
Posted on Monday, 27 February, 2006 - 01:20 pm:   

Details of leaseholders' meeting arrived in this morning's post:

Monday 13th March from 7pm
44a Sydenham Road

contact is

I'll be going

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