VOTE: Littlehampton seafront homes face plastic window bills

DOZENS of properties in a conservation area on Littlehampton seafront face expensive bills to replace “plastic” uPVC windows with traditional wooden frames.

Arun District Council has written to the freeholders of 28 addresses in South Terrace where uPVC windows have been installed, warning them that the frames are illegal and it will take enforcement action if wooden replacements are not fitted.

As many of the properties are divided into several flats, the number of homes affected will be much greater. Arun also wants to have satellite television dishes, which are also in breach of the conservation area, moved from the front to the rear of the buildings.

Details of the crackdown emerged last Wednesday, when councillors discussed an application for uPVC windows to be installed in a flat at the Vardar Restaurant in nearby Selborne Place, which is also in the seafront conservation area.

Planning officer Daniel Vick told Arun’s development control committee that a similar application for more timber windows at the Vardar to be replaced with uPVC frames had been refused permission last year because of the impact on the conservation area, and that decision had been upheld by a planning inspector following an appeal.

Elizabeth Galloway, agent for the Vardar, said the owners had been assured by a double glazing company, wrongly, that they did not need planning permission, and so ordered the windows.

Unfortunately, they were forced to pay in full for the windows, which had already been manufactured.

She pointed out that the council had already approved the installation of uPVC windows in an extension to the restaurant which was granted planning permission in 2007.

Had the planning inspector walked around the area, said Mrs Galloway, he would have seen many other uPVC windows. Such windows, she said, were easy to maintain, compared with the “prohibitive” expense of wooden windows.

She called on the committee to recognise the restaurant’s contribution to the community and its owners’ efforts to do their best for their business and for their building.

What do you think?

Should “plastic” uPVC windows be acceptable these days in a conservation area like the one on Littlehampton seafront? Cast your vote in the poll to the right of the screen and leave your comments below.