Q I live in a conservation area and would like to install new windows in my house and paint the exterior a different colour. Do I need to get permission?
A For works that do not affect the external appearance of your home, including repairs and maintenance, planning permission would not usually be required. However, the installation of windows and doors might. The test is whether the proposed change will materially affect the external appearance of the property.
Painting the exterior of the house a noticeably different colour will likely require permission.
As indicated, the application might also be required to cover the new windows — confirmation should be sought from your local planning authority. Its conservation officer will be able to advise you on any proposed works. This is useful to help you understand what designs, materials and finishes are likely to be acceptable before submitting your application, should one be necessary.
It is also worth checking if an Article 4 Direction is in force (these are additional controls that a planning authority can impose in relation to further specified works, typically the erection of garages, sheds, porches, fences or, indeed, replacement windows and doors). Planning permission will be required for any such specified works.
For any proposed works, regardless of whether the property lies within a conservation area, it is worth checking with the building control department of your local authority if a building warrant is required. Building control is separate to planning consent and its main purpose is to ensure that your proposals will be structurally safe.
Victoria Smith is a senior solicitor in the planning team at Brodies LLP