Replacement scheme of insufficient quality to justify harm to heritage assets

A mixed use redevelopment of locally listed buildings in central London was refused for less than substantial harm to heritage assets not outweighed by the benefits of the replacement scheme in terms of its quality or social and economic considerations. The proposal comprised office and retail floorspace and four residential units and open space.

The only issue for consideration was the impact of the proposal on the surrounding conservation area, adjacent grade II listed church and the loss of the Arts and Crafts style locally listed buildings themselves. The inspector held that in isolation the buildings were not remarkable but they did contribute positively to the character of the conservation area and reflected its speculative build history. She also felt the adjacent listed non-conformist church stood out as a prominent and important building and part of the area’s social and physical history.

She concluded that the demolition of the locally listed buildings would be a notable and regrettable loss of non-designated heritage assets which made a positive contribution to the significance of the conservation area. The loss of these buildings would also be harmful to the conservation area and would adversely affect the setting of the listed church. These harms would be compounded by the excessive height, bulk and mass of the proposed replacement building and the introduction of a public open space which would be harmful to the tightly defined setting of the church. Consequently, she concluded the heritage assets would be neither preserved nor enhanced and the public benefits of the scheme, including office floorspace and housing, were insufficient to overcome the harms. 

Inspector: Sheila Holden; Hearing

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