Kensington and Chelsea: Improving windows in listed buildings could get easier for 4,000 homeowners


Homeowners in 4,000 listed buildings across Kensington and Chelsea could install warmer windows without needing building consent under new council proposals.

Kensington and Chelsea Council are consulting on measures to cut red tape for local residents, making it easier for them to have more energy efficient homes without requiring individual listed building consent.

Currently any extra glazing or single-glazed windows in listed buildings need to be approved with consent by the Council’s planning officers.

But the council is keen to scrap the requirement in a bid to lower the London borough’s carbon emissions, as it aims to become carbon neutral by 2040.

Buildings account for 80 per cent of the borough’s carbon emissions and there are 4,000 listed buildings across Kensington and Chelsea, the council said.

The new measure would follow the council’s move in March 2022 to scrap the need for consent before listed building homeowners could install solar panels.

At the time Councillor Johnny Thalassites said it was about “removing barriers to green energy” while also making sure solar panels were installed without being visible at street level and without causing any damage to the buildings.

Commenting on the window proposals, Councillor Cem Kemahli, lead member for planning, place and environment said: “We have set a target to be carbon neutral by 2040. It’s ambitious and it will need a whole community effort which is why we want to remove barriers to people choosing greener measures for their homes.

“We can protect our buildings whilst moving with the times. Listed buildings of 200 years old or more have new roofs in their lifetimes, so there’s no reason why we can’t see upgrades for greener measures in the same way.

“Getting new windows or installing renewable energy should be easier if it’s part of the ongoing maintenance of someone’s home and reduces carbon emissions.”

Under the council’s proposed changes, installing internal secondary glazing to windows would be allowed without consent, as well as replacing single-glazed windows with double-glazed ones.

Replacement of existing windows, or replacing single-glazed panes where the window was installed in a listed building after the date of listing, would also be allowed.

Consultation on the Local Listed Building Consent Order is due to close on January 9. The council will be consulting heritage and conservation groups as well as resident associations.

The council recently announced £8m in funding to retrofit 32 schools in the borough with measures such as double glazing, solar panels and insulation, saving 2.2 tonnes of carbon emissions per year.

It’s working to decarbonise its own housing stock, with an estimated cost of around £100m.