Planning Permission

Making Changes to Your Brentham Home

Brentham is an ‘Article 4 Conservation Area’, which means that strict planning regulations are in force to keep Brentham special. Almost all changes to a Brentham home or building need planning permission before they can be carried out. You’ll find more information, including the Brentham Conservation Area Appraisal and Management Plan 2008 here. The Brentham Garden Estate Policy and Design Guide 1988, mentioned on the Council website is a useful document.

What Makes Brentham Special?

It certainly looks different from neighbouring streets with their jumble of extensions and alterations, plastic windows and paved-over front gardens. By contrast, Brentham offers an appealing green landscape in which the distinctive and well cared for houses sit comfortably. This timeless character adds to residents’ quality of life in a busy 21st century world and is probably one of the things that attracts them to Brentham in the first place. It also helps explain why homes here carry a premium over others of comparable size in the area.

But this hasn’t happened by accident. It was designed to look this way from the beginning - Brentham has an important place in the architectural, social and planning history of the 20th century. Since 1970, part of the Brentham Society’s purpose has been to help conserve this important heritage and character. Unusually strict planning controls are in operation here to ensure that these increasingly rare assets aren’t compromised by unsympathetic or inappropriate ‘improvements’.

Unusually Strict Planning Controls

To maintain Brentham as a special place to live for all its residents, and for future generations, there are restrictions on what individuals can do with their property.

You will need planning permission for any changes to the outside of your property, front, back and side, including:

  • Replacement of windows or doors
  • Re-roofing
  • Rendering
  • Changes to paintwork with the exception of front doors
  • Painting any previously unpainted surface
  • Extensions (including loft conversions) and conservatories
  • Installation of satellite dishes
  • Installation of hard surfacing at the front of the property, including front paths
  • Erection of sheds or workshops
  • Demolition of any part of the building or boundary, including chimneys and steps
  • Any change to fences, hedges, walls and gates
  • Removal or heavy pruning of trees
  • Any external pipework, including soil pipes, rainwater goods and gas pipes.

IMPORTANT: If you make any of these changes without a planning application you may be issued with an Enforcement Order which requires you to reinstate what was there in the first place. Some residents have found themselves in this situation and it’s something we all want to avoid. 

Free Help and Advice

If you are thinking of making any changes or improvements, please consult the Brentham Conservation Area Advisory Panel and/or the Brentham Society before engaging builders or architects. Changes are allowed only if they conserve or enhance the original character of the garden suburb, its houses, gardens, streets and landscape setting. Developments approved in the past are no guide to what will be allowed now. We can advise you on current rules and what you need to make a planning application with the best chance of success.

For free advice contact Pat Baxendale, Brentham Conservation Area Advisory Panel and/or Heather Moore, Brentham Society. To request telephone numbers for Pat and Heather please email

You can also get pre-application advice from Planning Services, London Borough of Ealing - phone 020 8825 6600. Make sure that Planning Officers understand you are in a Conservation Area with Article 4 Direction.

Looking After Your Home

For day-to-day maintenance and conservation, English Heritage offers these important tips:

    Repair rather than replace Brentham houses were built with high quality materials designed to last. Doors, windows and other vital architectural features can usually be repaired by a good specialist. Modern replacements often can’t match the original in quality or appearance.

    Original features conserve the character of your home and add value for future buyers – these include small interior features like picture rails and original tiling as well as the obvious exterior ones. The Brentham Society keeps a small store of original doors, fireplaces etc for sale and welcomes contributions.

    Poor repointing can alter the look of a house and cause dampness Repointing should always be done by a specialist using a mortar that matches the original.

    Effective insulation can be achieved without harming the appearance of your house Condensing boilers with individual thermostats on all radiators and draught-proofing windows can improve energy efficiency as much as double-glazing, which is not usually permitted for Brentham houses.

    Love your hedges They contribute to Brentham’s calming green character and make much more attractive and effective boundaries – back as well as front - than walls or fences. 

Finding Good Craftsmen

The Brentham Society can put you in touch with people who have worked on Brentham homes to the satisfaction of residents. Please email Heather Moore to request her telephone number - she can pass on contact details - or you may prefer to send Heather an email.

Practial Hints

We’ve compiled some practical hints for anyone thinking of making changes to their home.