You don’t usually need planning permission to install a roof window or skylight into your home, especially when replacing an existing window of the same dimensions.

The thing is:

Typically, you will only require roof window planning permission if you’re making very visible changes to your property. Additionally, you may also require permission if you need to change the position of chimneys, flues or pipes as part of a loft conversion, for example.


The rights to undertake certain types of work are called ‘permitted development rights’. Keep in mind that the same rights that apply to houses may not necessarily apply to flats or commercial buildings.

Having said that, in this article, we’re going to focus on domestic residential properties.

Let’s jump right in.

Table of contents:

When do I need roof window planning permission?

VELUX GGL CK04 SD5J2 Conservation Window

You’ll need planning permission to install a roof window if any of the following situations apply:

  • You plan to install any windows more than 150mm above the existing roof plane;
  • The window will protrude over the roof ridge or be higher than the highest part of the roof;
  • You plan to install a side-facing window without obscure glazing;
  • You are installing a side-facing window under 1.7m above the floor than can be opened; or
  • You plan to make changes to the chimney, flue, soil or vent pipe as a result of installation.

But that’s not all:

You’ll also need roof window planning permission if you’re a leaseholder or you live in a building where an Article 4 Direction has been made by your local authority, regardless of the above. An Article 4 Direction means the local authority has withdrawn your rights to make changes and develop your building.

In effect, an Article 4 Direction, removes your permitted development rights. This is done usually in heritage, protected and conservation areas where the historic character, design importance or surrounding area could be negatively impacted.

A local council will make an Article 4 Direction when the ‘character of an area of acknowledged importance would be threatened’.

You can find out more about permitted development rights and what it means to have them withdrawn on the government’s Planning Portal.

What makes planning approval more likely for a roof window?

There are certain types of windows more likely to pass planning approval because of their minimal visual impact.

This is where building regs for VELUX windows come into play, for instance.

Here’s the deal:

VELUX conservation windows are designed to have a traditional look and are available to offer more subtle windows in both recessed slate and plain tiles. With these windows, you get the same high-quality, high-performance VELUX window, just with a less obtrusive external finish.

The bottom line is:

Always seek the advice of your local authority before carrying out any building work.

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