PEensioners unable to open their windows at Chantry Court sheltered housing in Devizes have lost an appeal to replace them with uPVC frames.

Wiltshire Council planning officers refused an application under delegated powers, as they said uPVC windows would have a “significant adverse impact” on the character and appearance of the conservation area.

Windows at Chantry Court, in New Park Street, are white sash wooden frames that are rotten.

The window firm awarded the contract to replace them appealed against the decision, but planning inspector Andrew Dawe has dismissed it.

Mr Dawe said while Chantry Court was a relatively modern building, with no particular architectural merit, in the context of nearby more traditional buildings, its simple design with unobtrusive features fitted in.

He said the design of a top- hung opening uPVC window would make them appear “overly dominant” and draw greater attention to the building.

“It would therefore become an intrusive feature in the street scene in relation to the listed church [St Mary’s] and its environs, and would therefore be to the detriment of the local distinctiveness of the conservation area,” he said.

He acknowledged that a number of residents had difficulty opening the windows, but said he had no evidence that this was due to the sash design and could be due to the current condition of the existing frames.

Residents have been paying into a fund for refurbishments. As well as new windows, the plan was to replace doors and carry out other improvements.

Resident Michael Messam, 72, said Raglan, the managing agent, was going to retender for the work and seek quotes just for new windows.

He said: “I think we have done all we could to try to influence the decision.

“The priority is to get the windows replaced and we are stuck with having sash windows.”