Replacing your windows in a conservation area

Do you happen to live in a conservation area? This is an area within which there are important environmental and historical interests. Protected by law, changes made to the properties must be approved in order to maintain the desired aesthetic in the area. Living in a home in a conservation area can make you feel like you’re living in a different era! Preserved, historic buildings across a whole community make for a brilliantly characterful area, and owning a property within this could make others envy you. However, what do you do if your windows are in need of some TLC?

If your home’s windows could do with a refresh or they need replacing altogether, you may need to take extra steps living in a conservation area. Here is the information you need to know when you’re thinking about renovating your windows:

What is the difference between a conservation area and listed properties?

It’s easy to think that because your property is not listed, you don’t have to go through the same channels to get your brand-new windows approved. However, living in a conservation area will mean that you still may have to do this. Unlike a listed property, a conservation area expands throughout more than one building, sometimes encompassing an entire town to preserve its historical importance. Although your property is in a conservation area, it does not mean it has the same restrictions as a listed building, but it may still require planning permission.

Acquiring planning permission for your new windows

When you’re thinking of making changes to your windows, there may be permission you need to require. Your conservation area most likely has an Article 4 Direction. This direction is made by the local planning authority and restricts people from making unwanted changes to the appearance of properties within areas of importance. You will need to request permission to make any changes which alter how your home looks. Original windows in conservation areas are typically single glazed, and if they were produced in the 1800s, the glass was likely made by hand! These historic windows, although cold and fragile, look beautiful. The purpose of a planning application to replace your windows in an area of historic interest is to maintain this beautiful aesthetic across the area.

Is it best to repair or replace my windows?

In historic areas, repairing your windows will always be the desired option. A like for like repair will eliminate the need for planning permission as there will be no alterations to the appearance of your property. Repairing sash or casement windows can be tricky, but trusting an experienced company that frequently works with listed buildings or conservation areas will be transformative for your home.

If the condition of your windows is too extreme for a simple repair project, you may need to replace them. This is when you’ll need to pursue the planning permission to ensure the new windows you choose are in line with the conservation area’s style. Luckily, there’s a new type of innovative glass on the market that could benefit your home! If you’re in a conservation area, your new windows will need to look as similar to the original ones as possible. Fineo’s vacuum insulated glass is as slim as a single glazing unit whilst boasting energy efficiency that rivals triple glazing! Able to be retrofitted into existing frames, this could be the glass with the perfect solution to replace your windows in a conservation area.

The facts

Overall, if you live in a conservation area and you’re in the market for some new windows, first find a company that will help you assess whether you will require a repair or replacement. This will impact whether or not you’ll need to start the gruelling process of planning permission. If this is the case, it is best to apply for planning permission far in advance, so that your process won’t get held up by factors outside of your control. Replacing your windows can increase your home’s energy efficiency, and choosing a glass that doesn’t impact your aesthetic is a brilliant solution!

For more information about vacuum insulated glass or advice on which steps to take if you live in a conservation area, contact our experts today. We’ll be more than happy to help you.

Contact the Wandsworth Sash Windows team

Talk to us – we can help with your bespoke window, door and joinery requirements. Call 02079247303 or email