3 elements to consider when choosing replacement windows in an AONB

3 min read Windows

If you happen to live in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), good for you! We’re certain that the scenery surrounding your home is much more pleasant than most. However, if you’re thinking about replacing your windows, there are some important things to consider first.

What is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)?

Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) are areas of countryside that have been designated for conservation by local planning authorities under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 because they have significant landscape value. Designating them for conservation helps to preserve unique characteristics of the area, and this extends to the homes situated within them.

So what exactly should you consider when replacing your windows in an AONB?

1. Planning permission

Usually, replacing your windows is considered a ‘permitted development right’, which essentially means you don’t need planning permission to replace them. However, permitted development rights are often restricted in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and other designated areas.

As we regularly work on homes situated right across the stunning Surrey Hills, we know only too well that planning permission might be required to replace your windows. So, make sure you check with your local planning authority via the Planning Portal before work begins.

2. The designations which relate to your property

The point of designating areas is done to protect certain characteristics which could be affected by new development. Doing some research about which designations relate to your property will, therefore, be invaluable to you. You might find that the nature of the designations in the AONB that your property is situated within are in complete contrast to what you want to achieve. Therefore, you might have to alter your replacement window plans somewhat.

3. The windows themselves

Evolution Timber alternative After Inside

Following on from the last point, if your proposed windows are in total contrast to your existing ones, planning approval is unlikely to be granted. For example, if your home is fitted with timber sash windows and you want to replace them with aluminium casements, don’t expect your planning application to be accepted anytime soon.

You can always go down the route of replacing your windows with like for like replacements, however, you might also consider modern alternatives that have been designed with AONB guidelines in mind. For example, we install Evolution timber alternative windows, which are designed to emulate traditional timber windows yet they’re manufactured from uPVC. Secondary glazing is a commonly approved glass option for older homes. This ensures that they are often approved for use in conservation areas and homeowners can benefit from low maintenance, thermally efficient windows.


Unsure if your home falls within the boundaries of the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty? To discuss the requirements of your replacement windows project further, call Sheerwater Glass on 1932 344 415 or contact us online.

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