Planning permission for replacement windows and doors

If you are considering the replacement of windows or doors at your home, you have to know whether any approvals are required before undertaking works and also how to apply for these approvals. Any unauthorised change may also lead to legal enforcement action.

To understand whether you need consent or not or what type of consent you need to get for replacing windows and doors at your property, please read what summarized below for you.

Planning permission for houses

Most single dwelling houses benefit from ‘permitted development rights’ as long as they are not listed building. This means that it is possible to replace existing windows or doors without planning permission.

Note: Flats, maisonettes, houses in multiple occupation, commercial premises, properties on conservation areas and listed buildings do not have permitted development rights.

Planning permission for flats

The flats, maisonettes or houses in multiple occupation do not have ‘permitted development rights’ as single dwelling houses, so you will need planning permission to change any windows or doors in a flat or maisonette.

You don’t need planning permission if you are fitting windows which are identical, like-with-like in terms of pattern, frame width, profile and material. However, if the new windows differ in appearance or size to those you are replacing (for instance, different glazing patterns) you may need to apply for planning permission.

If replacement windows and doors will be made of a different material to the existing (for instance replacing a timber window with a aluminium window), or if they will differ in appearance to the existing windows (for instance replacing a sash window with a casement window or altering the glazing bar pattern), you will need to apply for full planning permission for changes.

Local policy and interpretation of the rules covering changing windows in flats varies from council to council and you are advised to contact your Local Planning Authority for advice before starting work.

Be aware it is ultimately the flat owners sole responsibility to find out what planning permissions are required from their local authority. In addition, if you are a leaseholder, you may first need to get permission from your landlord, freeholder or management company.

Planning permission for listed buildings

If your house or flat is a listed building, you must obtain Listed Building Consent (LBC) from the local planning authority to install or replace any windows or doors. You need to apply to local authority for listed building consent. It is free to apply for listed building consent. Just download an application form from your local planning authority’s website.

Listed buildings are classed three in three categories as follows:

  • Grade I: Buildings are of exceptional interest; only 2.5% of listed buildings are Grade I.
  • Grade II*: Buildings are particularly important, being of more than special interest; 5.8% of listed buildings are Grade II*.
  • Grade II: Buildings of special architectural or historic interest. 91.7% of listed buildings are Grade II.

The total number of listed buildings is not known exactly. However, it is estimated that there are around 500,000 listed buildings on the NHLE ( National Heritage List for England). As you see the majority of listed buildings fall within the Grade II category.

The National Heritage List for England (NHLE) contains details of all listed buildings in England. To find out if a property is listed just Search the List.

Planning permission for houses in conservation areas

Conservation Areas are areas of the city which have been designated by the council for their special architectural or historic interest.

If your property is not a Listed Building but is located within a conservation area then you will require Planning Permission to alter or replace windows or doors. If you property is both a Listed Building and located in a conservation area then you will need to apply for both Listed Building Consent and Planning Permission. These requirements apply to both modern and older, traditional, properties.

If your building is listed in a conservation area you should speak to your local planning authority before installing anything. Some conservation areas are subject to special controls when the local authority wishes to protect particular building features, such as doors or windows. These are called ‘Article 4 Directions’, and restrict work that wouldn’t normally require planning permission, such as replacing a window with one of a similar design. To find out if an Article 4 Direction exists for your conservation area, contact your local authority. They will be able to tell you what kinds of work you’ll need planning permission for.

Some definitions

Permitted development (PD) rights: You can make certain types of minor changes to your house without needing to apply for planning permission. These are called “permitted development rights”. PD rights are a national grant of planning permission which allow certain building works and changes of use to be carried out without having to make a planning application.

Dwellinghouse: For the purposes of this guidance, the term “dwellinghouse” does not include a building containing one or more flats, or a flat contained within such a building

Flat: A separate and self contained residence, which is one of several within a larger building.

Listed building consent (LBC): LBC is a planning application process whereby the Historic Environment Division is required to be consulted on any alteration affecting the character of the structure of a listed building – either to the exterior, the interior or structures within its curtilage, including the fixing of advertisements or signs.

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