Replacing Windows in Conservation Areas

Everything You Need To Know About Replacing Windows in Conservation Areas

Replacing Windows in Conservation Areas

27 May 2019

Many planning authorities reject the use of UPVC windows in homes in conservation areas and in listed buildings due to the cheap and unauthentic appearance. Windows play a crucial role in the visual aspect of a building, especially if they have remained intact for generations.

They are one of the most important design features. Even slight changes to the window can have a significant effect on the building’s appearance.  Evidence of craftsmanship and detailed design on old and rare materials are what makes historic windows of interest.

What are Conservation Areas?

A conservation area is a specific area with strict planning laws due to historic buildings with features that need to be preserved. The changes that can be made to existing buildings in these areas is limited and would require planning permission as the value of the properties and the visual aesthetics should be protected. It is an area of notable environmental or historical interest or importance, which is protected by law against undesirable changes.

Replacing Sash Windows In Conservation Areas

How Does a Home in a Conservation Area Differ From a Listed Building?

A building in a conservation area requires permission to undertake anything that would alter its appearance from the outside. Its external appearance is protected.

When a home is a listed building however, the interior is also protected. The internal structure of the building must not be changed with any renovations or repairs using only original materials.

What is Article 4?

Buildings in conservation areas are protected under Article 4 as standard. If a building is covered by an Article 4 direction, then it requires planning permission when altering the facade (including windows and doors). Article 4 direction restricts changes that owners can make to the exterior of their property without planning permission in a bid to protect the special character or appearance of these conservation areas.

Replacing windows in conservation areas

Why Does it Exist?

Some home renovation projects can cause detriment to the historic value of the home or area. Article 4 serves to protect the appearance and aesthetics of the area and the value of its properties. As windows are key design features to a building, even the slightest changes could see a big difference to the appearance of the building. The appearance and visual character are under threat from unsympathetic replacement windows and doors.

Materials and features, such as windows and doors, which are original must be kept and repaired, or replaced in an exact replica if beyond repair.

What Options are there for Windows Covered by Article 4 in a Conservation Area?

For old underperforming windows in a conservation area, you have two options, repair or replace


Many timber windows can be repaired and draught-proofed. Well maintained original historic windows show off the character of your building to its best advantage and provide a unique character to the building.

  • Sand and paint Over Your Old Conservation Windows
  • Install A Draught Sealing System


New replacement windows should be appropriate to the character of the building.The new windows replicating the original windows can be like for like, matching the exact same design and detail of the original windows.

By replicating the original windows you can drastically improve the thermal efficiency of your windows without changing the appearance and design of the windows and the overall exterior of your home.

Benefits of a full replacement include:

  • Modern performance features such as double glazing and multi-layered timber.
  • Better timber technology allows your windows to be better structured, durable and less prone to warping.

You should begin the replacement process by getting in contact with your Local Planning Authority and Building Control Service to advise them of your plans.

The permission decision can take a couple of months so it’s advised to plan well ahead. Want to know more or get some advice? Get in touch with Marvin and we can help you start the process of replacing your old conservation windows.

Interested in replacing your windows in a conservation area? Have a look at our range of conservation windows along with our specialist heritage services.

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