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Window Replacement

Guidance for historic buildings or properties in a conservation area

Please seek advice before making changes. We would prefer to help you to get things right first time rather than fix a mistake. You can contact our Conservation team by emailing  

Listed buildings need planning consent. Buildings in a conservation area may need extra planning consent(s) under an Article 4 Direction.

Make sure you get the right planning consent(s) before works start. We can take enforcement action if you don't have the right permission(s).

Why old windows are important

The importance of historic windows varies. Their value depends on:

  • Evidence of craftsmanship
  • Use of old or rare materials
  • Detail of design

Windows are a significant feature of many local buildings. They strongly contribute to a building's interest and appearance.  Any changes can noticeably alter how the building and area looks.

Plastic windows

You cannot put plastic windows in a listed building. Their design and appearance are 'out of character' with the building.

We recommend installing wooden windows in an unlisted property in a conservation area. Plastic windows may be acceptable depending on their design and quality.

Windows without permission

Please contact us if you think a window doesn't have permission. We will check the window and decide if it is suitable. If it isn't, we will say what needs doing to put it right.

We may take enforcement action if a window:

  • has recently changed
  • influences the property's appearance and character
  • is an unsuitable design
  • is an unsuitable material

We are unlikely to take enforcement action if a window:

  • has been there for a long time
  • doesn't/has a small influence on the property's appearance and character
  • has a slightly unsuitable design
  • is made of slightly unsuitable material

Repair instead of replacement

It is better to repair rather than replace historic windows.

Historic windows are usually made of high-quality softwoods. They are long-lasting with the right repairs and maintenance. Good joiners and metal workers should be able to make high-standard repairs. They can also make improvements to keep in the heat.

Window replacement is rarely needed. Replacement should only happen if repairs aren't possible. A new window must be an accurate copy of the old historic window.

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