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Do You Need Planning Permission For Windows In A National Park Property?

Posted on: 08th September, 2021

For anyone lucky enough to live inside the boundaries of one of the UK’s national parks, the surrounding scenery can be breathtaking, but you’ll also be the custodian of a very special home. While living in a designated protected or conservation area like this, your home may have listed or special status preventing you from making changes or alterations. So replacing any doors or windows with artisan, handcrafted alternatives can be a sensitive topic requiring special permission.

National Park thatched cottage open stable door

Dartmoor and UK national parks

Across all of the UK’s 15 national parks, including Dartmoor National Park here in Devon, each is managed by its own National Park Authority. First designated under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949, then revised under the Environment Act 1995, according to nationalparks.uk, the key purposes for English and Welsh national parks are:

  • To conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife, and cultural heritage
  • To promote opportunities for the understanding and enjoyment of the special qualities of National Parks by the public

For the two Scottish national parks, their key purposes are:

  • To conserve and enhance the natural and cultural heritage of the area
  • To promote sustainable use of the natural resources of the area
  • To promote understanding and enjoyment (including enjoyment in the form of recreation) of the special qualities of the area by the public
  • To promote sustainable economic and social development of the area’s communities

Of course, these purposes are largely applicable to how the public use and look after the parks so we all get to enjoy their outstanding beauty whenever we like for generations to come. But any private homes in a national park can often have certain restrictions on ‘permitted development rights’ and enforced planning permission.

Each National Park Authority will have its own variations on certain rules and regulations. But it’s likely that planning permission inside a national park boundary will be needed for any home building work, renovations, or alterations – and that includes replacing any windows or doors to your property.

National Park thatched cottage timber casement window

Planning permission and building consent

Whether your Dartmoor home or a home in any other national park is listed or in a conservation area, the area’s exposed weather extremes can make any bespoke replacements for timber doors or window frames inevitable. But the process of replacing windows with suitable frames on these properties, and potentially adding double glazing as well, can require specific planning permission if your alterations will change how the property’s exterior will look.

Thanks to their protected status, carrying out work on the outside of any national park property means more planning compliance for certain types of work than for ‘normal’ homes. You may even need Listed Building Consent which is different again and required if any alterations will affect your home’s character as a building of special architectural interest.

This is certainly the case for Dartmoor, with dartmoor.gov.uk stating “(The) Planning (department), therefore, controls… the appearance of buildings… and the impact a development will have on the general environment.”

While this can apply to any home of any age on Dartmoor, it’s even more applicable to Dartmoor’s 2,750 listed buildings, 1,082 ancient scheduled monuments, and 25 special conservation areas recognised for their architectural and historic interest. So what do you need to do before you replace any of the windows or doors your home might need?

National Park thatched cottage external stable door
National Park thatched cottage internal stable door

Property planning history

Window frame and/or door replacements are always a home improvement consideration. But, on a national park home, their design and integrity need to be in keeping with your property’s architectural style and features. Because of this, it’s best to learn (if you haven’t already) and research the history of your home before you start any renovation work.

As your home is inside a national park, the best place to start is to find out if it’s in a conservation area. With 25 conservation areas of particular historical interest across Dartmoor alone, there’s a chance your home may be in one or next to one which could impact your plans. If you do live in one of Dartmoor’s conservation areas, you shouldn’t need planning permission if your replacement timber windows or doors use the same materials and have the same design. But, even if they do, it’s a good idea to be cautious and check whether planning permission is needed or not.

Following this, you should find out whether your home is listed. If it’s Grade I or Grade II listed, it will have been given additional protections that cover both the building’s interior and exterior, together with anything attached to the building and, potentially, any outbuildings too. This can mean a longer process in trying to get planning and listed building consent, followed by firmer inspections to make sure your materials, designs, and final appearance can be approved.

And while replacement window frames need to match the materials and appearance of the original designs, it means the super durable, stable, and sustainable Accoya wood used by Nathan McCarter Joinery is a perfect choice.

National Park thatched cottage angle view

Nathan McCarter and National Parks working together

Contacting your local council planning authority, or visiting the planning advice pages of your chosen national park, will give you plenty of advice and confirmation about your property, its age, and its status. And the information you get should help you in taking the next steps in replacing any of your windows or doors.

But to help you even further, we work closely with all national park staff up and down the country to make sure any changes being made are in line with the property itself and sympathetic to the surrounding area – before any work starts. We can also create bespoke section drawings of your windows or doors to help you with the planning process and speed it up as much as we can for you.

So while we’re on top of the different rules and regs of any planning and consent processes, it means we can pass it on and tell you in plain English so you know exactly where you stand.

As manufacturers of handcrafted timber windows and doors, each is bespoke and created in-house to exacting standards and authentic designs. Featuring the finest in a classic window and door furniture and locks, the overall aesthetic will help retain the character and integrity of your property.

For more information, to arrange a site survey, and get the window replacements you need for your national park home, contact us today on 01822 615 010, send us a message, or email us at info@nathanmccarter.co.uk.

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