Installing double glazing in Conservation Areas

Posted by | November 25, 2020

Rod Stewart has had a tough old time upgrading the windows at his luxury Essex mansion. Alongside upgrading the heating of his 18th-century property on the edge of Epping Forest, the singer also wanted to enjoy the thermal efficiency benefits of new double glazed windows. However, his plans have run afoul of the local council’s Conservation Team who have ruled that the plans would be a “contentious intervention”.

If you live in a Listed Building or within a Conservation Area, you may already be aware that upgrading your windows to double glazed ones can be tricky. Replacing windows in Conservation Areas is subject to checks and balances with good reason. Conservation Areas are neighbourhoods and regions in the UK that have received a special designation, due to their architectural character or historic interest.

These areas are protected by special legislation that aims to protect their features and character from being lost to modernisation or alteration of the buildings and grounds within the area. There are at least ten thousand Conservation Areas in the UK, and they are typically overseen and administered by local authorities, usually as part of their planning departments.

For the council Conservation Team, a window is much more than something that lets the light in and keeps the rain out.

Windows are considered integral to the property's history and character and so can become an issue if you are keen to replace them.

Many properties within Conservation Areas are subject to Article 4 directives that mandate planning permissions for upgrades like new windows. If you want to install double glazing on a property in one of these areas you will need planning permission to do so and the ability to demonstrate that your replacement will not compromise the building's aesthetic.

Gaining approval from your local council for new double glazed windows.

The thermal efficiency and energy-saving benefits of double glazing are hard to beat, so a successful application to replace your windows will deliver great value and return on investment for years to come. This makes making a considered application to your town's Conservation Team worthwhile. With good advice, creativity and willingness to cooperate with advice or guidance, you should be able to be successful.

Key points to consider when applying to install double glazing in a Conservation Area home.

  • Strengthen your position by doing your research on the property.

Windows that are original fittings on the property may also have to be retained because they are examples of the craftsmanship used to build the building. Conservation organisations like Historic England direct that such windows should be repaired rather than replaced. In this situation, it will be harder to secure the relevant permissions to proceed with double glazing your home.

However, if the windows have been replaced at some point after their original installation you may have more room for manoeuvre. That is why it is well worth looking into the history of your period, listed or conservation area property, to see what modifications have been made and if they would make the department more amenable to approving your upgrade.

  • uPVC frames can work if your windows have been changed in the recent past, or they can closely resemble the windows that are to be replaced.

Many local authorities will consider uPVC windows that copy the size, form, glazing pattern and opening of your existing windows. This is great news because uPVC double glazing has become so much more versatile and nuanced in recent years. uPVC sash windows and mock leaded glazing are readily available and slim-section and even coloured uPVC frames can be sourced if required.

  • Think about timber-framed or metal framed double glazed windows. 

If uPVC windows for your Conservation Area building cannot be approved you may have to look at alternate forms of double glazing, particularly timber framed double glazed windows which often make a sympathetic replacement in old buildings. Dark coloured metal framed double glazed windows also may no disrupt the general aesthetic of the area.

  • Pay attention to the apertures, openings and sightlines of your replacement windows. 

The planning department will be looking at how your new double glazed windows affect the overall appearance of the building and its fit within the surrounding area. Your choice of window openings are critical to the sightlines of the property and so should match the original window design.

Talk to our helpful and knowledgable team about installing double glazing on your Conservation Area home.

As leading double glazing specialists, we have built up a solid reputation and years of experience in installing double glazing in a variety of property types. With a market-leading inventory of designs and excellent workmanship from our factory to final installation, you will benefit from all the assistance needed to make your window upgrade a success. Call or email our team today to get started.