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Buildings in Conservation Areas

As you may be aware, The Scottish Government changed Permitted Development Rights (PDR) for houses and flats in conservation areas in 2012, and PDR have never existed for non-domestic buildings in these historic designations. Consequently, planning permission is required for all new windows, doors and external finishes installed in all buildings in Highland’s conservation areas, whether or not they are listed. Where a building is also listed, listed building consent will also be required.

In a limited number of cases, a new window, door or finish which is an exact like-for-like replacement may not require planning permission; you must, however, check with us in advance. It should also be noted that ‘almost the same’ or ‘looks similar, but moves differently’ etc. is not like-for-like and using a different colour, double glazing in place of single, false astragals and/or casement movement in place of sash-and-case would not constitute like-for-like replacement.

The Council expects any changes proposed to a building in a conservation area to be sensitive and appropriate, both in terms of the quality of materials use and the design. Irrespective of what existing installations or finishes may be present in the area, uPVC windows and doors are rarely considered acceptable for use within historic designations. This is reflected in the Scottish Government’s recent tightening of the rules relating to buildings in conservation areas.

As for listed buildings, it is recommended that advice is always sought from the Council prior to any work being carried out to a building in conservation area. We would again encourage the use of our free pre-application advice service for local developments.

(Source: Highland Council Guidance Document)


Further Advice and Guidance

We encourage clients to seek advice from their local council prior to any proposed works to listed buildings or buildings in conservation areas. This will save you time and avoids the need for enforcement action.

You can obtain free advice from the Council via the pre-application advice service for local developments here.

General Planning advice can be found on the Highland Council website.

Historic Scotland also has a wealth of information regarding the historic environment.


Click here to return to our Customer Advice Centre.

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