Traditional windows

Windows are the eyes of a building - changing them can have a dramatic effect on the character, appearance and architectural harmony of a building or street. That is why we give advice on how to preserve or replace traditional windows.

More information can be found below -

Repair and maintenance

The view is often that traditional windows can be expensive to maintain, difficult to repair or impossible to improve. In most cases there are cost-effective alternatives to replacing them.

If you have a window frame or sill that is partly rotten, a joiner might be able to splice in new timber or repair the damage using a filler. To improve draught proofing, insulation and ease of access for cleaning you could consider weather stripping, secondary glazing or fitting 'simplex' window ironmongery - this allows traditional sashes to swing inwards. If you have a sash window that is stuck or difficult to open or close, you might simply need to get heavy paint build-up removed or get a joiner to fit new cords, weights and pulleys.

Old glass of historic interest can also be salvaged using an infra-red heating device to soften hard putty.

Replacing windows

When there is no other alternative, replacement windows should match the originals in proportion, design and position. It is possible to reproduce traditional windows - try builders, joiners or restorers for a tailored service. Many traditional designs are still mass produced, so you may be able to buy them ready made.

Be careful to avoid replacement windows whose makers claim that they match historic details when they obviously do not. Poor reproductions can affect the character, appearance and architectural harmony of a building and can even reduce the value of a property. PVCu windows crudely reproduce some authentic features, although designs are improving all the time. It is possible to get PVCu windows that follow traditional designs more closely, but these can be expensive. Large paned Victorian and Edwardian designs are often more convincing than Georgian small paned or 'arts and crafts' types.

Listed buildings

You will normally need to apply for listed building consent to alter or replace windows in a listed building. Like for like repairs, done with exactly matching materials, design and form would normally not need consent. You would normally not get consent to put PVCu windows into a listed building.


When only one household lives in a building (so it is not shared by more than six people or split into flats), it is usually possible to alter or replace windows without applying for planning permission. There are some exceptions to this. The main exception is that you would need planning permission to remove or alter a window facing a highway within the Avenues and Pearson Park conservation area, Boulevard conservation area and Coltman Street conservation area.

Other buildings

If the external appearance of the building will be affected to a large extent, you would need planning permission to alter or replace any windows.

Conservation areas

You will only get approval to replace windows on the front of buildings in conservation areas with PVCu windows where they match the originals very closely. Outside of conservation areas, we will consider replacement PVCu windows on the merits of their design, the look of the building and local area.

Building regulations approval

You will need to apply for this if you want to replace all windows and some doors in domestic and commercial buildings, when the whole window frame needs to be replaced. If you only need to replace the opening casement frames or individual panes of glass, leaving the frame in place, you will not need approval.