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Do I Need Planning Permission for Sash Windows and Doors in December 2023?

You will need planning permission for any alterations to your windows and doors if your property is located in a conservation area or listed building or if the changes would affect the character or appearance of the building.

Planning permission is a question that often arises when homeowners consider changing their sash windows and doors. This can be a complex issue, as the requirements can vary depending on the location, type and age of your property[1]. In this article, we at Expert Sash Windows will guide you through the key considerations to help you understand whether you need planning permission for your project.

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Do I Need Planning Permission To Change Windows And Doors In Leamington Spa In December 2023?

The answer to this question depends on the location and type of property in question. The rules for each of the following four categories differ:

Category Description
1 Houses, flats, and offices that are NOT in a conservation area or listed
2 Houses that are in a conservation area but not listed
3 Flats and offices that are in a conservation area but not listed
4 Listed buildings of all grades (houses, flats, and offices)

Why Might You Need Planning Permission to Change Your Sash Windows and Doors?

Planning permission is required for certain types of work to ensure that the changes are in keeping with the local area and don’t have a negative impact on neighbouring properties[2]. Sash windows and doors are often a key feature of a property, and changing them can significantly affect the appearance of the building. This is why planning permission may be required, especially if your property is in a conservation area or is a listed building.

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Category 1 – Category 1 – Houses, Flats, And Offices Which Are Not In A Conservation Area Or Listed Properties

Should you find your abode classified under this category – houses, flats, and offices not located within a conservation area or listed – you’ll be pleased to know that planning permission is generally not a concern when changing your sash windows and doors. It’s the charm of living in these properties – you are granted ‘permitted development’ rights, giving you the liberty to conduct specific alterations without the usual red-tape[3]. However, don’t forget that all new windows and doors must still adhere to building regulations. This encompasses various factors including safety, energy efficiency, and accessibility[4].

Category 2 – For Houses Nestled in Conservation Areas, Which Are Not Listed

Now, if your property is cosied up in a conservation area but isn’t a listed building, things might be slightly different. You see, conservation areas often come with a few more strings attached, all to preserve the unique architectural or historical charm of the neighbourhood[5].

In many instances, you might need to apply for ‘planning permission for relevant demolition in a conservation area’ (also quaintly known as conservation area consent) to alter your windows and doors. But remember, local authorities can sometimes have their own set of rules. Therefore, it’s always wise to check with them first, just to make sure you’ve got all your bases covered[6].

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Category 3 – Flats And Offices In A Conservation Area And Not Listed

For flats and offices in a conservation area that are not listed, the planning laws differ from those applicable to houses as they do not typically benefit from permitted development rights[1]. As a result, you generally need planning permission for any changes. However, an exception to this rule is the replacement of windows and doors, which usually does not require planning permission, but this can vary depending on your local authority[6].

The majority of local authorities in London and the rest of England have a policy that if your property is a flat or an office in a conservation area, you do not need planning permission to change your windows and doors, provided the new items are ‘like for like’ in materials and appearance[6]. This means that if your existing windows are made of timber, your new ones must also be timber, and if your outgoing windows are sliding sash windows, your new ones must be too.

However, there is an exception to this rule. If your property is covered by an Article 4 Direction, you will need planning permission in all instances[6]. An Article 4 Direction is a unique planning regulation adopted by the local planning authority, which removes permitted development rights from whatever is specified in the Article 4 direction.

Category 4 – Listed Buildings Of All Grades, Houses, Flats And Offices

When it comes to listed buildings of all grades, whether they are houses, flats, or offices, you will always need to apply for planning permission and listed building consent to replace windows and doors[5]. The rules and regulations surrounding this process are stringent in order to protect our architectural heritage[6].

Obtaining planning permission can be challenging, and consent will often not be given unless the windows are beyond economical repair, such as if the sash box is entirely rotten[6]. Arguments such as “they are old, single-glazed, or they let out loads of heat” are typically not valid. The planners will want you to repair and maintain historical windows, so you must demonstrate that this is impossible. Additionally, permission to change from single to double glazing is rarely given[6].

However, you may be able to use extraordinary heritage ‘slimline’ double glazing in Grade 2 buildings[6]. With Grade 2* and Grade 1 properties, getting permission to use slimline glazing is very difficult; usually, only single glazing is acceptable.

Your conservation officer may insist on traditional ‘hand-drawn’ glazing, which is handmade and has ripples and imperfections[6]. You will not be allowed to change materials, such as timber to uPVC, or the appearance of the windows or doors. In short, planning permission to replace your windows and doors in a listed building is usually only granted when the existing windows and doors are beyond economical repair, the new items have heritage-appropriate glazing, and the new items are identical[6].

Choose a FENSA-registered sash window company to install your new windows or doors. The installer must legally ensure that your new windows conform to building control regulations and certify them with your local authority’s building control office.

Can I Use Double Glazing In My Period Property Which Is Listed?

This depends on several factors and is the decision of your local planning authority. For example, grade 1 and 2* listed buildings are generally not allowed to use double glazing. However, grade 2 listed buildings can sometimes use 16-18mm conservation area double glazing, which we used at a job recently in Derby.

Still, the preference is usually for using heritage-appropriate glazing in Leicester such as slimline 12mm double glazing or single glazing. You may get permission to use 18-16mm conservation area double glazing on windows hidden from public views, such as the back elevation of a house.

Ultimately you are at the mercy of your local conservation officer on which type they want to use. Therefore, discussing their preferences is advisable to meet the conservation officer before a complete application.


Can you install a window without planning permission?

Typically, planning permission isn’t necessary when replacing windows with the same style and size as the originals[7]. However, certain circumstances warrant planning permission for new windows. Factors determining the need for permission include the type of property, window location, size, style, and local planning regulations.

Installing larger windows, overlooking neighboring properties, or altering overall appearance may require permission, especially in conservation areas. It’s advisable to consult local planning authorities for clarification. When installing windows, ensure a qualified professional handles the installation and follows all relevant building codes. Obtain any necessary permits from the local building department, and ensure proper sealing to prevent air leaks and moisture damage[7].

Am I allowed to install my own windows?

Stop and think: are you prepared for the responsibility of installing your own windows? Although energy-efficient windows can save up to a staggering £135 annually for a medium-sized, semi-detached UK home, improper installation may not only negate these benefits but also cause long-term issues and expenses.

Before you embark on this DIY adventure, consider the necessary experience, skills, and tools you’ll need. Remember, incorrect draught-proofing and sealing can lead to energy loss, compromising your home’s overall efficiency and ultimately costing you more in the long run.

Pay close attention to local building codes. You may need to acquire a Building Regulations certificate for window replacements, verifying that your installation meets safety and energy efficiency requirements. Obtain this certification through your local authority’s building control department or a certified installer.

To optimise the benefits of your new windows, follow these expert tips:

  1. Choose windows based on factors such as size, style, and energy efficiency.
  2. Adhere to provided instructions to ensure a smooth and proper installation.
  3. If you’re uncertain or inexperienced, consult with a qualified professional who can guide you through the process or even handle the installation themselves.

By considering the risks and rewards of a DIY approach, you can make an informed decision and be on your way to creating a comfortable, inviting, and energy-efficient home.

Do sash windows add value to a property?

Integrating double-glazed sash windows in period homes can increase property value, as they enhance energy efficiency and offer a comfortable living environment[7].

In fact, an impressive statistic from the Energy Saving Trust demonstrates that upgrading from single to double-glazed windows can save a household between £85 and £110 annually on energy bills[7]. As energy costs continue to rise, these savings can significantly impact a homebuyer’s decision-making process, further increasing property value. This energy-saving aspect is not only wallet-friendly for homeowners but also environmentally responsible, making it an increasingly appealing selling point in the housing market.

What structures do not require planning permission?

Ready for a game-changer? You’ll be pleased to know that most internal home alterations don’t need pesky planning permissions! Transform your space with upgraded kitchens, luxurious bathrooms, or a clever garage conversion to create an additional utility room or chic home office. Dream bigger and make the home of your dreams a reality with stairway transformations, rewiring, and exquisite loft conversions. But wait, there’s a twist! If you own a listed property or reside in a Conservation area, always double-check before embarking on your fabulous renovation journey.[8].

And now, brace yourselves for a striking stat! According to the HomeOwners Alliance, an evolved market trend reveals that an impressive 76% of Brits prefer home renovations to moving. That’s right, revamping and reimagining spaces is the in thing! So go ahead and overhaul the heart of your home, release your inner design-savvy, and embark on a fascinating journey that doesn’t require the red tape of planning permissions.[9].

What is allowed under permitted development?

Permitted development is a convenient national right that enables homeowners to make various improvements and alterations to their properties without the need for planning permission. Examples of such improvements include rear and side extensions, loft conversions, roof works, rear outbuildings, porches, boundary walls and fences, and solar panels. These rights allow property owners to upgrade their homes more efficiently while minimizing bureaucratic red tape [8].

In an interesting report by the National Planning Policy Framework, an estimated 80% of planning applications in England for minor development improvements fall under permitted development rights, saving homeowners the hassle of the planning process. However, it’s crucial for homeowners to double-check the specifics, as permitted development rights are not absolute, and can be affected by various factors such as property type, location, size of development, and potential restrictions in place. [8].

Permitted development rights offer homeowners the prospect of increasing the value and functionality of their properties, while simultaneously contributing to the nation’s ever-evolving architectural landscape. It is crucial to familiarize oneself with the authorised development rights that apply to one’s area to avoid unnecessary spending on planning applications and save valuable time. By doing so, homeowners can enhance their living environments, expressing their creativity while respecting regulations designed to maintain harmony within the neighborhood.

Still Unsure?

We understand that making decisions about your home can be challenging. So we’re here to help.

As a timber-only company, we are passionate about helping to preserve Leamington Spas’ architectural heritage. We offer a range of options to suit your needs and budget, and our friendly team is always happy to answer any questions.

Call us on 01926 266 096 or email [email protected], and we’ll be happy to help.

So, do you need planning permission to change your sash windows and doors? The answer is: it depends on your property. If your property is not in a conservation area and not listed, you typically do not need planning permission. However, if your property is in a conservation area or is a listed building, you are likely to need planning permission or listed building consent[1].

If you are unsure, it’s always best to check with your local authority or seek professional advice. We are always here to help with any questions you may have.


Here are the sources and references that were used in this article:

1. Planning Permission – Doors and windows – Planning Portal (n.d.). https://www.planningportal.co.uk/permission/common-projects/doors-and-windows/planning-permission
2. Modifying Historic Windows as Part of Retrofitting Energy Saving Measures | Historic England (n.d.). https://historicengland.org.uk/advice/technical-advice/retrofit-and-energy-efficiency-in-historic-buildings/modifying-historic-windows-as-part-of-retrofitting-energy-saving-measures/
3. Conservation Areas – Historic England (n.d.). https://historicengland.org.uk/advice/planning/conservation-areas/
4. Conservation – Warwick District Council (n.d.). https://www.warwickdc.gov.uk/info/20377/conservation
5. The List – Historic England (n.d.). https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list
6. Warwick District Council – Windows in Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas (PDF) (n.d.). https://www.warwickdc.gov.uk/download/downloads/id/458/windows_in_listed_buildings_and_conservation_areas.pdf
7. Do I Need Planning Permission? – HomeOwners Alliance (n.d.). https://hoa.org.uk/advice/guides-for-homeowners/i-am-improving/do-i-need-planning-permission/
8. Redbridge – Permitted development (n.d.). https://www.redbridge.gov.uk/planning-and-building/planning/permitted-development/
9. Building Without Planning Permission – Do I Need It? (n.d.). https://www.kslaw.co.uk/site/knsplanninglaw/your-planning-project/do-i-need-planning-permission/without-planning-permission/
10. Understanding the UK’s 7-year planning permission rule | GetAgent (n.d.). https://www.getagent.co.uk/blog/selling-tips/understanding-the-uks-7-year-planning-permission-rule
11. Replacing windows regulations | Westminster City Council (n.d.). https://www.westminster.gov.uk/planning-building-control-and-environmental-regulations/building-control/replacing-windows-regulations

Daniel James

Daniel James

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