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Your Guide To Heritage Windows For Protected Areas Or Listed Properties

Posted on: 15th March, 2021

The beauty of any original or period features inside, or outside, your home only adds to its charm and personality. But if your home is a listed property, or you live in a conservation or protected area, while replacing your original windows and frames is possible, it might not be as straightforward as you think.

Heritage window replacements

If any older properties are still showing off their original windows and frames then they’ve obviously been well made, treated with care, and given the protection they need for a long life. But no matter how well heritage windows have lasted, there will always be a time when further repairs to the frames won’t be a viable option.

Eventually, either the glazing or the frames – or both – will need to be replaced. But replacing them with new frames, or even double glazing, on listed properties or properties in conservation areas can be problematic. There may be specific planning controls in place that prevent or restrict any significant changes to how the outside of a property will look.

Because of their listed or protected status, completing restoration work inside conservation or protected areas or on the outside of any listed property means more compliance than normal, with additional planning procedures paperwork to complete before any work can begin. But that doesn’t mean it’s an impossible task.

So what’s the best way to have the replacement windows your property needs while still protecting its architectural and aesthetic style and maintaining its period features? Before you get to that stage, uncovering details in three key areas will give you the information you need to get work underway.

A recent project for wood replacement windows

1. Do you live in a conservation of protected area?

Conservation, or protected, areas, are specially designated areas, created to protect any buildings or land that have special architectural or historical interest. There’s every chance you’ll already know whether you live in a conservation area as you should’ve been made aware when you bought your home.

But if you’re unsure and need to check so you can start planning your window replacements, your local council planning authority will be able to confirm. They can give you information on when it was designated as a conservation area, how much land it covers, and any legal protections that are currently in place. It’s worth noting that even if you live in a conservation area, it doesn’t automatically mean your home is listed or protected as well.

2. Is your home Grade I or II Listed?

Just like conservation areas, listed buildings are considered to be locally or nationally important with special architectural or historical interest. When designated, they gain extra legal protections from the usual planning processes.

Grade II listed buildings make up over 90% of all listed buildings so, if applicable, this is the most likely for your home. Again, you should’ve been made aware when you bought your home whether it’s a listed property. But your local council planning authority will be able to tell you for sure, along with any planning controls or restrictions that may be in place.

3. Are there any planning controls already in place?

Having certain planning controls already in place on your property will mean an extra round of planning consent if and when you wish to alter the outside of your property. These are called ‘Article 4 Directions’ which restrict works that wouldn’t normally need planning permission. Any that are in place should have been declared when you bought the property, but again, your local council planning authority will be able to confirm this for you if you’re unsure.

barn conversion with heritage windows

Conservation area or listed property?

In summary, everything points towards checking with your local council planning authority to ensure you get the right information for your property. This is something we strongly advise all our customers to do before making any renovation plans. But, in general, work on your property should fall into one of two camps:

  • If you live in a conservation area, but your home is not listed, you shouldn’t need planning permission to replace heritage windows if your new windows use the same materials and have an almost identical appearance. This means timber-framed windows need to be replaced with timber and their style must match, so sash windows will need to be replaced with sash windows of the same design for example.
  • If your home is listed (whether it’s in a conservation area or not), you’ll need planning permission and listed building consent to replace your wooden windows in every instance. The ‘listing’ is in place to protect the architectural heritage of buildings, so any changes will be subject to tight scrutiny to ensure materials, appearance, and style are all strictly adhered to.

Double glazing for conservation areas and listed properties

The majority of listed homes or those inside conservation areas will have single glazing. But specialist slimline double glazing units are still very much an option for older or listed properties, subject to planning requirements, helping you save money and be more energy-efficient.

Of course, your replacement window frames need to be much the same in terms of materials and appearance. As long as they don’t deviate from the original designs and use the same materials, like timber or our preferred material of Accoya wood, thankfully, it means chunky uPVC frames are not an option.

close up small heritage window

Nathan McCarter Joinery makes the process easy

Nathan Mccarter Joinery can help you with the rules and regs, break down the legal jargon of any planning and control processes, and give you all the advice you need for handcrafted windows that work best for your property. And, as it can be a complicated process, we’re happy to help guide you through it if you need an estimate before submitting plans to the planning office.

As artisan creators of beautifully bespoke, wooden heritage windows, each is handcrafted to authentic designs, helping you meet exacting standards and retain the architectural character of your listed property. For more information, to arrange a site survey, and get your heritage window replacements project started, call us on 01822 615 010, send us a message, or email us at info@nathanmccarter.co.uk today.

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