HOUSE & HOME: Improving historic properties

Everyone wants to live in beautiful and historic areas of the country, but the challenge faced by homeowners is often the restrictive planning permissions in place to protect and conserve the beauty of these areas. Working within the confines of these policies can be tricky if you haven’t done so before, but it isn’t impossible.  

Many historic areas fall within what’s called a Conservation Area. These are areas deemed to hold special architectural or historic interest and are considered worthy of preservation or enhancement. Just because your property is in a Conservation Area doesn’t mean it can’t be transformed, but it will often require more planning to do so. You might be thinking of adding a modern extension or converting the loft space but, with period properties in a Conservation Area, you may need to get permission before even picking up a paintbrush.

You should also note that when you purchase a property in a Conservation Area, you become responsible for any work done to the property, even by previous owners. So, you may find yourself having to rectify unapproved work before you can fully get your teeth into your own renovation.

But it’s not too hard to ensure a smooth process, just be sure to make a special effort to be on good terms with your Conservation Officer as they are the gatekeeper to any work done to houses within their Conversation Area. They will also be able to make recommendations on the type of products to use, as they know which ones are designed within the planning restrictions and will pass inspection.

All in all, renovating a property in a Conservation Area is a balancing act. Heritage-style products are often recommended to preserve the architectural value of the area. But that doesn’t mean you should forget all modern desires. Natural light is a perfect example of this. Design features such as rooflights can help!

Our Conservation Rooflight, for example, is modelled after the original Victorian cast-iron skylight to create something that seamlessly fits into a period home and meets the requirements of Conservation Areas but benefits from modern-spec performance.

Renovating a property within a Conservation Area certainly poses challenges but they’ll no doubt be worth the effort to live somewhere so iconic, after all they’re Conservation Areas for a reason!

To discover more about The Rooflight Company, please visit

Minerva Studio
Author: Minerva Studio