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Historic Building Planning Guidance 

Energy Efficiency Measures in Historic Buildings 

We understand that many of our residents are interested in making their homes more energy efficient through modifications such as double glazing and insulation. However, in the case of listed buildings and conservation areas additional planning controls are in place to protect their historic value and distinct character.  

As listed buildings and conservation areas are protected for many different reasons there are no universal rules when it comes to what alterations are permitted. This webpage has been created to help residents understand what the Council must consider when assessing a request to modify or alter a historic building. 

This webpage will provide guidance on the following: 

The Council's approach to modifying historic buildings 


The Council's Historic Environment Planning Responsibilities

The Council has a particular duty to take special care and to give due regard when assessing planning applications relating to historic buildings, within Conservation Areas and also that affect non-designated heritage assets.

Strategic Policy HE1 of the Fareham Local Plan 2037 Historic Environment and Heritage Assets outlines the adopted approach:

"All development should seek to conserve and enhance the historic environment and heritage assets, in line with the local and national policy.  The Council will take appropriate positive steps to conserve and enhance the Borough's historic environment heritage assets."

Listed buildings 

These buildings are considered to have special architectural and historic significance and making modifications or alterations to them, without listed building consent, is a criminal offence.

Any alterations that may change the character or historic value of the property or its historic fabric must be approved in advance by the local planning authority.  We recommend contacting the Council's Conservation Planner before making any changes to a listed building.  Additionally, due to their greater significance, any applications effecting Grade II* and Grade I listed buildings also need consultation with Historic England.  

Locally listed buildings 

These are designated locally by the Council and are deemed to be significant to local character and heritage.  While locally listed buildings are not protected to the same statutory degree as Grade I, II* & II listed buildings, their status, as non-designated heritage assets, will still be considered by the Council when reviewing planning applications as outlined in Policy HE5 of Fareham Local Plan 2037.

"Non-designated heritage assets recorded on the Council's list will be protected from development that would unacceptably harm their architectural and historic interest, and/or setting taking account of their significance."

Properties in Conservation Areas 

These are designated by the Council because they are deemed to have a particular character or to contain buildings of special historic or architectural interest.  Conservation Area status will also be taken into consideration when deciding any planning application.  Some Conservation Areas also have Article 4 Directions which remove some 'permitted developments' rights that would ordinarily be permitted outside Conservation Areas.  The direction does not necessarily mean that the development cannot occur; it just needs planning permission.  Further information on our Conservation Areas, including Article 4 Directions, can viewed on the our website.


Best practice 

Historic England is the government's advisor on the historic environment.  They set the 'best practice' guidance which the Council aims to follow.  This guidance is linked throughout this webpage.

We have highlighted below where planning permission and/ or listed building consent is likely to be required.   If you are uncertain or would like any further clarification, please contact us with your question at: .


A whole house approach to energy efficiency 

When considering energy saving measures for historic properties, we will always suggest small, practical, and sensitive measures before any structural modifications are considered.  

For example, before a draughty front door is replaced, keyhole covers, letterbox covers, and draft excluders should be considered first. Research shows that these small measures can significantly improve the energy efficiency of historic buildings.  

The Council recommends taking a 'whole house approach.' This means considering all aspects of the property to identify the areas where most energy loss is occurring. For historic buildings this is often the roof, then the walls and finally windows and doors. 

The following guidance will include effective and simple measures which can make historic buildings more energy efficient as well as some modifications that maybe considered by the Council that are sympathetic to the character of historic buildings. 

This guidance should be considered in conjunction with the information on the Historic England Energy Efficiency webpages External Hyperlink


Energy Efficiency for Traditional Windows and Doors

Traditional windows should be repaired, retained, and improved wherever possible unless they are more expensive to repair than replace. It is important to note, replacement modern windows are not always more energy efficient than their traditional counterparts.  

Historic England has conducted research External Hyperlink and found that heat loss can be significantly reduced for many historic windows through simple, cost-effective measures such as: 

You can find out more about different types of historic windows in the articles below: 


What if my windows do not have historic value or are located to the rear of the property? 

The Council will always be in favour of retaining historic windows unless they are more expensive to repair than replace.  

Where replacement windows are permitted these should be replaced on a like-for-like basis. Double glazed units will only be allowable in instances where the original windows have previously been replaced with windows inappropriate to the character of the building.  

Where existing windows do not hold any architectural or historic value there may then be an opportunity to introduce slimline timber sash or casement double glazed units. In most cases standard uPVC double glazing will not be acceptable.  

If you are considering changing the windows of a historic property, please contact the Council.  

If you live in a listed building window replacements would always require a listed building consent application.?If you live in a conservation area you should consult the Article 4 Direction, available on our website. More information can be found in this Historic England Guidance External Hyperlink.


Historic Doors 

Before considering modifications to historic doors, they should be assessed for any necessary repairs. 

Following that, the measures listed below may help with reducing heat loss (these may not be suitable for doors of intrinsic historic value):  

Replacing doors should only be considered when the existing ones are beyond repair. Find out more in the 'Draft proofing windows and doors' External Hyperlink section of the Historic England guidance.  

If you live in a listed building, door replacements would require a listed building consent application.  

If you live in a conservation area you should check our website to see if door replacements are included in an Article 4 Direction.  

Historic England's guidance: Improving Thermal Performance of Windows and Doors in Historic Buildings External Hyperlink 

This article External Hyperlink by outlines some 'easy wins' for preventing heat loss in historic buildings.  


Insulating Roofs on Historic Buildings 

Roofs on historic properties all have their own unique thermal properties. Historic England has guidance notes  External Hyperlinkon the best ways to insulate most historic roof types.  

Special regard needs to be paid to preserving the special architectural character of the building. For instance, in barn conversions, it is important to maintain the internal spatial characteristics of the barn. This involves leaving as much of the timber framed structure exposed as possible as this adds to the character of the building. 

Any works physically affecting the special architectural and historic interest of the building and its historic fabric will require listed building consent. If in a conservation area, Article 4 Directions, if applicable, should be consulted.  

You can find out more about insulating and ventilating historic roofs in this article  External Hyperlinkby


Insulating Walls in Historic Buildings 

Very generally walls in historic buildings fall into four main categories: 

Depending on the type of structure, insulating historic walls can take many different forms. The general rule is that externally or internally insulating historic buildings should not compromise the overall breathability of the structure as this can lead to longer-term damage e.g., exacerbate existing moisture-related problems or cause new ones, and even structural failure.  

As the majority of insulation works to historic walls will affect the fabric and appearance of the building in most instances this will require listed building consent or planning permission in a conservation area.  

Find out more in the Historic England guidance External Hyperlink  

You can also find out about insulating open fires, chimneys and flues in this Historic England publication External Hyperlink.  


EV Charging Points and the Historic Environment

In most cases, the installation of wall-mounted EV charging points is a Permitted Development with a few exceptions: 

The EV charging point (and its associated casing) should not: 

  1. Exceed a maximum 0.2 cubic metres in volume. 
  2. Face onto and be within two metres of a highway (including a footpath). 
  3. Be within a site designated as a scheduled ancient monument. 
  4. Be attached to the structure of a listed building. 

In general terms, installing EV points within the area of land attached to a Listed Building do not require Listed Building Consent but would require an application for Planning Permission.  

These EV charging points should be small and discreet features designed to blend in with their surroundings. Larger scale and more visually intrusive features, such as Tesla Powerwalls, should be avoided wherever possible.  

Historic England published comments  External Hyperlinkon electric vehicle charging points and the historic environment.  


Energy Generation in Historic Properties 

There are now several renewable energy technologies available for both heating and power generation in historic properties. The most common of these are solar panels and ground/ air source heat pumps.  

Due to the potentially invasive nature of the required works and the particular limitations of some historic buildings, it is best to contact the Council at an early stage to discuss your proposals and the options available to you.  

Find out more about generating energy in historic buildings in the Historic England guidance External Hyperlink.  


Solar Panels on Listed Buildings 

In all cases, solar panels on a listed building require listed building consent. 

They should only be fitted to the building where they are out of sight. Solar panels (or any other micro-generation technology) that are visible from any aspect would not be acceptable.  

In addition, the specific constraints of each building should be taken into consideration e.g. certain roofs may not be capable of supporting the weight of solar panels.  

In some cases, it is preferable to install solar equipment away from the building. In these cases, the panels should be sited sufficiently far away from the building e.g. in the garden (and preferably screened). In these instances, the panels would not require listed building consent but would require planning permission. 

In the case of conservation areas Article 4 Directions should be consulted. 

Historic England's guidance notes External Hyperlink on Solar Panels. 


Heat Pumps on Listed Buildings 

Heat pumps take heat from the air, land or water and use it to heat buildings. As they take heat from existing sources then can cost less to run than systems that use oil or gas.  

As heat pumps come in many different forms, all with different components, the restrictions on their installation would depend on the type of heat pump you wish to install. The invasiveness of the heat pump installation would determine whether it would require planning permission.  

Historic England's guidance notes External Hyperlink outline how each type of heat pump works and how they are installed.  

Listed building consent would be required as the entire building is protected and some form of heating installation would have to be attached to the exterior of the property. If you live in a conservation area you should contact our Conservation Team at


Relevant Local and National Planning Policies and Guidance:

Fareham Local Plan 2037: 

Strategic Policy HE1, Historic Environment and Heritage Assets outlines the adopted approach:

All development should seek to conserve and enhance the historic environment and heritage assets, in line with local and national policy. The Council will take appropriate positive steps to conserve and enhance the Borough's historic environment and heritage assets.

National Legislation and Guidance:

National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)

Historic England Guidance Notes:

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