Planning permission for windows & doors

When it comes to changing the windows or doors at your property, you’ve probably been warned about the perils of planning permission. You’ve likely heard a lot of confusing advice over what you can and can’t do without it, and perhaps a few horror stories thrown in the mix.

With a whole heap of conflicting opinions online, we decided to create our own guide to planning permission for windows and doors to help you figure out precisely what you can and can’t do.

What is planning permission?

Planning permission is the formal permission required from your local authority to alter your property. Whether planning permission affects your proposed works depends upon the type of building you live in, where it’s located and what you’re looking to do.

Do I need planning permission to change my windows?

Yes and no. In short:

  • If you live in a listed building you will definitely need planning permission.
  • If you live in a conservation area and you are replacing your windows with like-for-like replacements, you will probably not need planning permission.
  • If you are not in a conservation area, you are unlikely to need planning permission to change your windows unless your property is under ‘Article 4 Direction’.

Do I need planning permission to change my windows if I don’t live in a conservation area?

If you live in a house, but don’t live in a conservation area you will generally not need planning permission to change your windows and doors as you have what are called ‘permitted development rights’. These are rights granted by parliament which allow you to make changes to your home.

There are a couple of rules that govern replacing windows under permitted development. These are:

  • If you are replacing existing windows with new timber windows, they must have a similar visual appearance (shape, colour, and size) to those currently installed.
  • Any upper-floor windows on the side of your house need to be obscure-glazed.

Replacement windows will also need to pass current building control regulations in regards to thermal efficiency and safety.

Flats and offices

Flats and offices don’t get the same permitted development rights as houses, which means that you may need to get planning permission to make alterations to your property. However, in most cases replacing the windows or doors (under the same stipulations as above) will be granted permission.

It is recommended that you speak to your local planning authority before making any alterations.

Article 4 Direction

Local councils have the right to create ‘Article 4 Directions’, under which they can create restrictions on property developments in cases where planning permission isn’t normally required.

This can extend to changing the windows and doors in your home, but the rules will vary from council to council, so do check with your LPA first.

I live in a conservation area, do I need planning permission to change my windows and doors?

In most cases you won’t need planning permission for your house as long as the windows are like-for-like. I.e., if your current windows are made of timber your replacement windows must be made of timber too. And you won’t be able to replace sash windows with casement, for instance.

Additionally, your replacement windows must be of the same shape and size and be similar in overall aesthetic. You are unlikely to be able to replace white sash with black sash windows, for example.

Article 4 directions may also apply in your local area, in which case you may need to pass other restrictions.

I live in a listed building, do I need planning permission to change my windows?

Whilst it’s difficult to say whether your property will get planning permission, there are a few situations in which your windows will not get permission, these are:

  • If your windows or doors are economically repairable, you are unlikely to get permission. Instead, you will be encouraged to repair your existing windows.
  • If you are trying to install uPVC or change from aluminium windows to timber, for instance.
  • If you are trying to change from single to double glazing. In Grade II listed buildings, ‘heritage’ slimline double glazing may be approved.

Upgrading from Single to Double Glazing

If you are living in a conservation area

Installing double glazing in a conservation area can be done without planning permission, but may be required if your property is under Article 4 Direction. However, proving that installing the windows will improve thermal efficiency and noise reduction may be enough to sway your local conservation officer if your property is under these directions.

If you are living in a listed building

You are very unlikely to get permission to install double glazing in both Grade I and Grade II* buildings. In Grade II listed buildings, officers may permit the installation of slimline heritage glazing – and you are more likely to get permission to install these windows in rooms which are hidden from public view.

It is highly recommended that you refer to your local conservation officer before conducting any works on the property.


We know how important your home is to you. That’s why we pride ourselves on offering advice that helps you make intelligent, informed decisions concerning changes to your property. Have any further questions?


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