It seems hard to believe that already a year has passed since I was elected as Chairman of the Branch. Time seems to have flown, but that may be a reflection of my age rather than anything else. It does mean however that I should pause and consider the past year's events.

We have achieved a great deal, from creating a Members' directory and group email, to holding our first day conference and a number of events for members. I think we can be justifiably proud of all of these. Apart from attending IHBC Council, much of my time in the early part of the year was taken up with editing the IHBC Yearbook. I hope you are pleased with the result. I tried to ensure that there was a good range of topics covered and that it had a real London flavour. I'm pleased to say that the majority of contributors were London Branch members.

Events are being organised for the autumn and winter, including our second day conference, the theme of which will be the conservation of our Twentieth Century heritage. These activities do not happen by themselves, and I should like to thank the Branch Committee for all their hard work this year.

As always, help from other members of the branch is always welcome. I have recently had an email from John Yates, IHBC Chairman, with a request for members to get more involved in wider Institute activities. Please get in touch with me if you are interested.

Finally, I hope to see you at our AGM on 28th June. As well as getting through the business of the evening, this is an opportunity to socialise and network with colleagues. It's also your chance to tell us how we're doing so far. Feedback is always welcome!

David McDonald

Council's Window Argument Upheld

In a recent appeal against enforcement action seeking the removal of unauthorised PVCu windows in a building within conservation area, the Inspector supported the Council's argument that enhancement should be sought.

The conservation area comprises mostly grand Victorian houses with timber sliding sash windows.  The appeal building, now in flats, retained none of its original windows on the fašade-- the replacements being mostly modern top-hung timber casements.  The appellant had replaced the casements in one flat with PVCu units of similar design but slightly heavier frame

and argued that this preserved the character and appearance of the area--making little change to the building's appearance.

The Inspector, however, noted the Council's policy which seeks original window designs using traditional details and materials and stated--

The fact that other windows on the front elevation do not mirror the original design is in my view the wrong test.  Alterations should endeavour to reinstate the original building character." 

Appeal Ref APP/G5180/A/05/1171761.