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Listed Buildings & Conservation Areas - The Facts


Please note that the following information is by no means comprehensive and that it is intended to provide only initial guidance for occupiers of Listed and Conservation Area properties.

Additionally, links are provided to enable contact to be made with the Statutory Authorities controlling listed building consent & conservation area planning permission.

The following information has been reviewed and is correct as at 02/01/2002 & is based upon the Law as it pertains to England. Similar but different Regulations & Statutes apply in the Channel Islands, Eire, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.

In all cases your first point of contact should be with your Local Authority.

Sash Windows UK are experienced in preparing and submitting applications for Listed Building & Conservation Area Planning Permission & are used to working and liasing with Local Authorities, both during the planning process and with the Building Control Officers during the work.

Listed Buildings

  • When a building has been listed it is protected by law and Listed Building Consent must be obtained before any changes are made to it.
  • Repairs that match exactly may not need consent, but examples of work which may need consent include changing windows and doors " the effect of any repairs is not always straightforward."
  • The owner of a listed building has to apply to their Local Authority for Listed Building Consent. The first step should be to ask the Council's Conservation Officer if your proposals are likely to be accepted, before making formal application, as this could save you time and money by avoiding making an unsuccessful application.
  • Your local authority will give you the appropriate form for making your application.
  • Usually, you will be required to replace "like with like" in all aspects; materials, construction and finishing; although you may be allowed to upgrade the specification to include insulated sealed glass units & draft proofing, subject to respecting the character of the building and taking proper account of the original case for the preservation order.
  • Local Authorities have control over applications for Listed Building Consents and over minor changes, but have to notify English Heritage when they first receive applications affecting buildings of outstanding national interest, normally those listed Grade I and II.
  • English Heritage advises local planning authorities and the Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions on the most important applications.
  • Local Authorities may refuse any listed building consent and, subject to local variations *, can grant consents for works to Grade III listed buildings.
  • Applications for Grade I and II* listed buildings are referred to English Heritage and sometimes to the Secretary of State.
  • It will usually take at least 8 weeks to receive a decision on your application. If consent is refused, you have 6 months to appeal, to the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions.
  • Carrying out unauthorised work to a listed building is a criminal offence punishable by a fine or a prison sentence and the local council can require you to put the building back as it was.
* In Greater London, English Heritage has additional powers, inherited from the former Greater London Council, to direct London Boroughs' decisions on all listed building consent applications. Since 1993 agreements have been made between English Heritage & and a number of Boroughs, delegating responsibilities to them for dealing with proposals for minor alterations and extensions to Grade II listed buildings.

English Heritage can be contacted at

To contact your local authority visit

Conservation Areas
  • When a property is situated in an area that has been designated as a Conservation Area (covered by an Article 4 Direction) then Conservation Area Planning Permission must be obtained before the windows and or doors may be replaced.
  • You will usually be required to replace with a window or door that looks like and operates in the same way as the original but can generally include insulated sealed glass units and draft proofing.
  • Although the regulations allow for the use of any suitable material, eg wood, metal or upvc, in practical terms this is not the case. The consideration here is aesthetic and most modern materials cannot comply with the requirements to match as exactly as possible the dimensions, features, decorative mouldings, etc.
  • Because the consideration is aesthetic, you may not need to replace "like with like" where the windows cannot be seen from a public thoroughfare, but you will need to discuss this with your Local Authority before submitting your application.
  • Your local authority will usually be able to send you a design guide for your area as well as giving you the appropriate form for making your application.
  • Carrying out work in a Conservation Area without planning permission may lead to the serving of an Enforcement Notice by the Local Authority. Should this happen and the work has been carried out in an acceptable manner then a retrospective Planning Application will usually be invited, without any further action being taken or penalty imposed. If the work is not acceptable then reinstatement, which is not usually practical or possible, or replacement with approved products, will be required. Once an Enforcement Notice has been issued failure to comply constitutes a criminal offence.
To contact your local authority
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