Letter: When new windows spoil the view

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The Independent Online
Sir: I am writing in defence of South Somerset District Council's action in compelling a couple to remove the plastic double-glazing from their Grade II listed house at Whitelackington ('Pensioners forced to replace 'illegal' windows', 24 August).

Your photograph does not show how unlike the original these replacements are, with or without stick-on lead. They symbolise everything that is bad in modern building materials - characterless, pastiche, less durable than the material they replace, and ultimately not even bio-degradeable: in Sweden discarded UPVC windows are classified as toxic waste.

I have had dealings with the council's historic buildings officers, and found them helpful and sympathetic. They are legally bound to enforce listed-buildings regulations, and have gone beyond the call of duty with their interest-free loan to the Greens.

As I look up from writing this, I view the village through leaded lights of wavery old glass. It is a delight that should not be denied to future generations. If I want more silence or heat retention, secondary glazing panels fitted inside will not destroy the old.

Ignorance of the law is no defence: but I wholly agree with the last sentence of your leading article - the installers are party to the offence. It is not the first time that they have skated over the listed-buildings regulations in this area, in pursuit of a quick buck, and another house loses its original 'eyes' to the world.

Yours sincerely,


Hinton St George, Somerset

24 August