Shop front security

On 1 April the single new council for North Yorkshire launched replacing Scarborough Borough Council and other local authorites in North Yorkshire.

To find your Councillor or to view minutes, meetings and agendas please visit the North Yorkshire Council website.

Our policy and design criteria on shop front security measures.

The key policies are:

  • On listed buildings external roller grilles and external roller shutters are not acceptable.
  • In conservation areas external roller grilles may be acceptable subject to stringent design criteria.
  • Elsewhere a different approach is adopted.

Before installing shop front security measures, shop owners are should to contact us. Advice is also available from the North Yorkshire Police Crime Prevention and Architectural Liaison Service.

Laminated glass or armour glass

Laminated glass provides security without affecting the appearance of the property.  Permission for security grilles will not normally be acceptable unless special glass is shown to be inappropriate.

No additional installations or fixings are required and therefore planning permission is not needed merely to install laminated safety glass.

In large areas of glazing, particularly traditional shop fronts, the introduction or restoration of glazing bars may further strengthen the glazing panels and prove less of a temptation to wilful damage than large sheets of plate glass, and will be cheaper to replace. Shopkeepers are encouraged to build or alter shopfronts to include shop windows divided by mullions. (Permission will be needed to do this on listed buildings and on property in conservation areas.) The quality of the glass should be stated on it as a deterrent. Additional security can be provided by wiring the glass with an alarm system.

Internal grilles

The use of internal grilles does not require planning permission. This is generally the next most favourable solution. Permission for external grilles will not normally be acceptable unless it can be shown that internal grilles are inappropriate.

Internal grilles can be installed immediately behind the windows and in this location they should be of the open weave, scissor or chain link construction (see illustration below).  However, where the shop is part of a listed building, listed building consent may be required if they affect features of the listed building. Internal ‘glass’ or ‘see-through transparent’ screens will generally be acceptable. Screens which depend on internal lighting for their see-through effect are not acceptable. Sold screens with ‘pin hole’ visibility are not considered to be transparent. In some premises, it is possible to incorporate a floor to ceiling shutter set well behind the window displays within the sales area. Such locations permit the use of more heavy duty protection than open weave grilles, although some perforation should be used to permit views into the shop for added security.

Another internal option is to place removable grille panels against the inside of the window each evening, but this is not often easy to do.

Removable or demountable grilles

All external grilles require planning permission. No bulky box housings are required. In some circumstances these grilles may be acceptable where security glass or internal grilles are inappropriate. They should:

  1. Be of simple, open grille design with a gauge of 3 inches or more.
  2. Have concealed fixings or be painted to match the shop frame.
  3. Having fixings which do not damage architectural features or mouldings.
  4. When in place, the grilles should not cover pilasters, stall risers or other architectural features.
  5. In order to be acceptable on listed buildings and conservation areas they will have to be carefully designed and where it can be shown that security glass or internal grilles are inappropriate.

In conservation areas and on listed buildings, such grilles should be colour finished to match the shop front or bronze anodised, and must always be stored inside the shop or otherwise out of sight when not in use.

External roller grilles

These are of the ‘brickbond’ or lattice design. External roller grilles require planning permission. This form of grille will not normally be acceptable on listed buildings. Elsewhere they may be acceptable if the following points are followed when making a planning application:

  1. As the box housings for roller security devices are bulky and unattractive when exposed, they must be concealed behind the fascia or incorporated flush beneath it and the fascia modified. Exposed boxes are almost always unacceptable. Where used, box housings should be colour finished to match the shop front.
  2. The guidance channels should either be concealed or if visible should not stand forward of pilasters and they should be painted to match the shop frame or be removable during the day.
  3. In conservation areas the grilles and all associated components should be colour finished to match the colour and materials of the shop front concerned or alternatively, they should be bronze anodised.
  4. Existing architectural features on the shop front such as pilasters should not be obscured or interrupted by the box housing or guide channels.
  5. When down, grilles must not cover pilasters, stallrisers or other important features.
  6. Open grilles across recessed doorways will usually be acceptable.

Roller shutters

Roller shutters either solid or or the pin hole variety require planning permission and are unacceptable on listed buildings and in conservation areas, main shopping streets and district or local shopping centres. They create an unattractive ‘dead’ appearance which detracts from both the building and the shopping area in general. Solid shutters also prevent the inside of shops being visible thus reducing security.

However, exceptions may be made in the following cases:

  1. Where the shop front is of an open type with no window, such as traditional fishmongers, butchers and greengrocers, and where no alternative solution would be possible.
  2. In isolated situations where security poses a special problem or where there is no acknowledged need to retain a visible display outside opening hours.
  3. The same criteria on the design of box housings, guidance channels and colour apply as for external roller grilles.
  4. Outside the special areas mentioned above.
  5. Where solid shutters are acceptable, they must be of the perforated type or the narrow lath type.

Listed buildings

On listed buildings, listed building Consent will be required for the installation of security measures. External roller grilles and roller shutters are unacceptable.

Higher design standards will be applied when considering applications for security grilles on listed buildings, and will require the pattern of the grille to be sympathetic to the building. Shutters and prominent box housings will not be acceptable.

Existing shutters

Where original or traditional wooden shutters survive they should be retained, properly maintained and painted. Where modern roller shutters are installed without permission the Council will, where expedient, take enforcement action to secure their removal.

Ram raiding

In conservation areas and on listed buildings, the use of a stallriser is an aesthetic, appropriate, and good defence against ram raiding. Stallrisers can be strengthened if necessary in high risk situations with internal posts or beams. Depending on location, flower planters, bollards or a high kerb can keep vehicles away from shop fronts.

New shop fronts

Where a new shop front is to be designed with traditional features or in modern style, the Council will expect the provision of adequate and appropriate security measures to be incorporated within the new construction. Only when the alternatives of toughened glass, internal grilles etc. have been fully examined, will the Council be prepared to consider an external grille. Where an external grille is permitted it will be possible to design such a roller grille within, for example, a traditional looking shop front by locating the roller box above the window yet behind the fascia.

Planning permission

Applications for planning permission or listed building consent should be accompanied by suitably detailed drawings to illustrate the impact on the shop front.

Drawings should include verticial and horizontal sections at a scale of at least 1:20.

Closed circuit television

As and when CCTV monitoring is introduced external roller grilles and roller shutters will not be permitted in the area covered by the surveillance measures.

Surveillance equipment

Internal security cameras trained on vulnerable areas are an effective security measure.


Shops should be equipped with alarms. Alarm boxes should be discreetly sited and coloured to match the building. Permission will be needed on listed buildings.