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Last updated: 12 January 2024

Replacing windows in a conservation area: A complete guide

If you live in a conservation area, there are specific rules that you need to follow when replacing your windows. In this article, we will walk you through the process of changing windows in a conservation area, and explain what is required of you. We will also provide some tips on how to choose replacement windows that will be compliant with the regulations in your area.

What is a conservation area?

Conservation areas are patches of land with unique historic or architectural features that warrant preservation. To be deemed a conservation area, the area must meet certain local and regional standards.

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These areas have extremely stringent planning laws set by the Local Planning Authority, who also manage all aspects of the conservation area including processing applications for developments within the zone.

All proposed changes to a home in conservation areas goes under increased levels of scrutiny to ensure that any alterations would at best maintain and not damage the qualities which make the conservation area special

Replacing windows in a conservation area.

Can you change windows in conservation areas?

If you’re thinking about changing your windows, for instance from single to double glazing or would like to replace windows from timber to UPVC, the first thing you should do is contact your Local Planning Authority. They will advise on what types of windows are permissible in conservation areas and if you need to submit a planning application.

In most cases, they will require certain specifications and designs which may restrict your choice in materials or styles available. This includes restrictions on the type of window frames, the glazing and even the colour.

Do you need planning permission to change windows in conservation areas?

In most cases, you will need to submit a planning application for any alterations or improvements in a conservation area when changing or replacing existing windows. This is due to the fact that there are strict regulations and restrictions set by the local authorities.

Planning permission can usually be obtained from your local authority within 28 days of submitting your application. Once you have been given approval, you can start the process of replacing your windows.

In the case of period property you you will also need listed building consent, this is an additional form of permission that is required to make any alterations or improvements to listed buildings.

How to gain planning permission for new windows in conservation areas:

As explained, conservation areas can have often have very strict planning laws that require planning permission when it comes to replacing windows, whether it be double glazing and something more energy efficient, or for a change of design such as with timber windows or sash windows.

To obtain planning permission you need to submit an application form with supporting documents such as drawings, photographs and measurements. You will also need to provide a letter of consent from any neighbour who could be affected by the alteration.

The Local Planning Authority will then assess your proposal against certain criteria including impact on the character of the conservation area or if it would affect its special interest. They can approve or reject applications based on these criteria.

We would recommend that you check with your Local Planning Authority for specific regulations that apply to the conservation area as this can vary from place to place.

What types of windows are most suitable for conservation areas?

When replacing windows in a conservation area, it is important to choose the right window style and material. To ensure your window replacement meets the regulations set by the Local Authority, you should consider opting for traditional materials such as timber which are often seen in conservation areas.

Timber sash windows are a popular choice for these areas as they often replicate the original style and design of windows found in the area.

In addition to choosing the right materials, you should also take into account what type of glazing is used. Traditional single-glazed windows offer a classic look for conservation areas but double-glazed windows provide energy efficiency and better insulation for your home.

Casement windows can also be used in conservation areas although they should be in keeping with the area and match any existing windows.

You can also opt for double glazing for the new windows, however this may require additional planning permission. It is important that the design and materials are sympathetic to the area and do not detract from its character.

Ultimately, whatever type of window you choose to replace in a conservation area it should not detract from the character or historic values of the area. It is therefore important that you seek expert advice when deciding which type of windows are best for your conservation area.

Can you fit uPVC windows in a conservation area?

If you want to replace timber windows with uPVC windows in conservation areas, you will need to seek planning permission. This is because uPVC windows are seen as a modern material and often do not match the character of the area.

However, if you want to maintain the traditional appearance of your conservation area, you can opt for conservation grade uPVC windows which come in a range of timber effects and styles such as sash windows.

Although uPVC windows often require additional planning permission, installing uPVC windows in a conservation area can be a great way to enhance your home’s energy efficiency without compromising on its character.

Tips for choosing windows in a conservation area:

When it comes to selecting replacement windows that meet all the regulations set out by your Local Planning Authority, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • When replacing or changing windows in conservation areas, it is important to choose the right style and material. To ensure your window replacement meets the regulations set by the Local Authority, you should consider opting for traditional materials such as timber which are often seen in conservation areas.
  • Timber sash windows are a popular choice for these areas as they often replicate the original style and design of windows found in the area.
  • In addition to choosing the right materials, you should also take into account what type of glazing is used. Traditional single-glazed windows offer a classic look for conservation areas but double-glazed windows provide energy efficiency and better insulation for your home.

Conclusion

Changing windows in a conservation area can be a complex process due to stringent planning laws, however with research and understanding of the regulations you should have no problem. Remember to contact your Local Planning Authority for advice before you begin and make sure to choose the right materials and design. By doing this, you can ensure your windows will be both stylish and in keeping with the conservation area.

It is also important to employ an experienced window fitter who will be able to advise you on the best windows for your property, if you would like assistance with this, feel free to get in touch by clicking the button below. One of our experience team will pair you with a local fitter in our area that will be more than happy to help.

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