Can I replace windows in a Conservation area?

Do you live in a conservation area and are looking to replace your windows? The Sash Window Workshop discusses what you need to consider before replacing the windows.

If you live in a conservation area it is important to carry out a few checks prior to carrying out any work to ensure that you have obtained the relevant permission.  Failing to obtain the relevant planning permission can be costly and result in you having to have the work re-done to comply with planning regulations.

Is planning permission required?

When looking to replace windows in a conservation area it is important to check whether the area is also under Article 4 Preservation, as this will impact whether you require planning permission.

If the building is also listed, you will need to apply for listed building consent.

If you are unsure whether you require planning permission for the work, speak to your council directly who will be able to advise you appropriately.

Timber sash window by The Sash Window Workshop

Conservation Area

Properties in Conservation Areas generally retain their ‘Permitted Development’ rights.  This means that replacement windows can be installed as long as they are ‘in keeping’.  They do not have to therefore be ‘like for like’.

The key here is that the general appearance of the house or the area must be retained within reason.  There is no legal requirement to seek permission to carry out work to windows.

Conservation Area under Article 4 Preservation

Article 4 direction forces a restriction to the ‘Permitted Development’ rights on the property.  This makes formal planning consent a legal requirement for any changes to windows.

However, there is more flexibility in what can be done in Article 4 areas compared to listed buildings.

Listed buildings

Any change to the external fabric, including the window joinery and glass, of a listed building will require consent.  It is the aesthetic appearance and materials used in the windows which the planning office will be most interested in.  They will rarely allow any change and if permission for work is granted it will almost certainly be on a like for like basis.

Heritage double glazed casement window by The Sash Window Workshop

Can I install double glazing?

This will depend on the level of planning restraints on the property.  Planning permission is not required to install double glazing in a Conservation Area that is not under Article 4 Preservation.

You will also normally have a reasonable chance of receiving approval to install double glazing in a Conservation Area under Article 4 Preservation unless the property is listed.

If the property is listed, you may be able to install heritage double glazing instead of standard double glazing.  Heritage double glazing uses a slim profile double glazed unit which is more likely to be approved in listed buildings.

If double glazing is not approved, you will need to install like-for-like single glazed windows.  Secondary glazing is also often recommended to increase thermal efficiency in Grade II listed buildings.

Timber sash window by The Sash Window Workshop

Obtaining quotes

When looking to obtain a quote from a window and door company, check that they have experience working in conservation areas, and if necessary listed buildings.  These properties often require exceptional attention to detail when replacing windows so it is important to choose a company that can comply to the strict planning requirements.

Ask to see examples of previous work that the company has carried out and to view where they manufacture the windows.  This will allow you to see first-hand the quality of their work.

The Sash Window Workshop has been replacing windows in listed buildings and period properties located in conservation areas since 1994.  They have a wealth of experience complying to these strict regulations and can provide technical drawings of any proposed windows to support an application once an order has been committed to them.  To obtain a free, no obligation quotation, contact The Sash Window Workshop on 01344 868 668.