Replacing windows in a listed property needs planning

If you own a listed period property or live in a conservation area, you’ll often need to get planning permission before you can make any physical developments – whether that’s building an extension, renovating the roof or replacing the windows. Period homes are an important part of English heritage, and building restrictions are often in place to ensure that no original materials are unnecessarily wasted, as well as to allow conservation areas to retain their period charm, without being ruined by ‘unsightly’ modern developments.

Applying for planning permission can be a lengthy and confusing process, and it’s particularly difficult to know where to look for advice. Your first port of call should be your local authority or a conservation officer, as they will be able to tell you exactly what you can and can’t do in your area, help you understand planning policies and reduce your chances of submitting an invalid application. You should also read up on your permitted development rights, which entitle you to make some small alternations without seeking planning permission.

Applying for planning permission

Once you’ve met with a local planning officer about your ideas and any issues (which you might have to pay for, so it’s a good idea to check), you need to fill out a planning application, which you’ll be able to get from your local authority or – a system set up by the UK government to enable applications to be processed electronically.

What you’ll have to prove

Getting planning permission for big projects, such as building an extension on a property, can be fairly complex because you have to consider things like roads, paths, water lines and electricity cables. With windows, it’s a little more straightforward, and is about showing that your alterations are not going to have a negative aesthetic impact on surrounding properties and the character of your home. It takes time, so you’ll have to be patient.

Period properties can get fairly cold in the winter, and one of the most common reasons that people apply for planning permission is to replace their original single-glazed windows with energy-efficient double glazing. If you can show the local planning authorities that you have a discreet glazing solution that will ensure your windows retain their original character, you’re more likely to get approval.

A ‘like-for-like’ replacement is the general standard required by most authorities, so your safest bet is to enlist the help of a specialist to ensure you get the right materials for the job. Here at Hamilton Windows, we are experts in finding the perfect windows for period properties, so contact us today to discuss your project.