Building Conservation

News, analysis and discussion of urban heritage and building conservation issues for town planners.

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Campaigners mull legal challenge after minister's Stonehenge tunnel consent against inspectors' advice

Campaigners mull legal challenge after minister's Stonehenge tunnel consent against inspectors' advice

Campaigners say they are "taking legal advice" after the transport secretary approved plans for a controversial road tunnel through the Stonehenge world heritage site (WHS) against a recommendation for refusal from planning inspectors who advised that the scheme's "substantial harm" to the prehistoric monument could not be justified.

High Court dismisses bid to overturn consent for retirement housing in Kent AONB

High Court dismisses bid to overturn consent for retirement housing in Kent AONB

The High Court has dismissed a Kent parish council's bid to overturn permission for a retirement housing scheme in an area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB), rejecting arguments that planning officers had not adequately considered the development's likely traffic impacts.

Government tightens planning rules around demolition of theatres and performance venues

Government tightens planning rules around demolition of theatres and performance venues

The government has announced that permitted development (PD) rights allowing the demolition of theatres, concert halls and live music venues without needing planning permission are to be removed in a bid to protect England’s cultural heritage.

Heritage campaigners slam university's erection of temporary 'student social space' without planning consent

Heritage campaigners slam university's erection of temporary 'student social space' without planning consent

Heritage campaigners have hit out at a university after it submitted a retrospective planning application for a temporary "student social space" that it has already built and claims is required due to social distancing measures.

Go-ahead for 1,800-home Stevenage town centre scheme despite heritage objections and lack of affordable housing

Go-ahead for 1,800-home Stevenage town centre scheme despite heritage objections and lack of affordable housing

Plans have been approved for a 1,867-home mixed-use scheme in Stevenage town centre, despite heritage watchdog Historic England objecting that it would result in a "high level of harm" to the Hertfordshire new town's heritage assets and a recognition that the proposal does not currently deliver any affordable homes.

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Why a Supreme Court ruling is likely to reduce the range of heritage items that can be listed

Why a Supreme Court ruling is likely to reduce the range of heritage items that can be listed

A Supreme Court judgment on a pair of listed urns calls into question whether some heritage items on statutory lists can actually be categorised as 'buildings' and are therefore eligible for inclusion. Experts say the ruling means that some currently-listed items may therefore be potentially vulnerable to removal.

How we did it: Creating new role to protect local heritage

How we did it: Creating new role to protect local heritage

Adopting a more proactive role in protecting heritage led Sefton Council to create a new post to take on the task, Mark Wilding reports.

The lessons from a council's chastening High Court heritage defeat

The lessons from a council's chastening High Court heritage defeat

The overturning of Liverpool City Council's consent for a 51-home redevelopment of a Grade II listed building shows that some planning officers are struggling with conservation considerations, say observers.

Why a court ruling will force ministers to explain decisions

Why a court ruling will force ministers to explain decisions

A Court of Appeal ruling over the controversial Paddington Cube scheme in central London should boost transparency around government call-in decisions, say observers.


Building Conservation Comment

The perils of prioritising tourism, by Cliff Hague

The perils of prioritising tourism, by Cliff Hague

Venice, Barcelona, Rome, Amsterdam, Edinburgh. These are places identified by the website CNN Travel as hotspots for "overtourism". Last year the Oxford English Dictionary made overtourism one of its words of the year. So what does it mean for planning, placemaking and urban conservation?

Legal Viewpoint: When historic use weighs heavier than appearance

Legal Viewpoint: When historic use weighs heavier than appearance

A High Court judgment this summer raised a key issue over the relevance of character and appearance when assessing the impact of proposed development on conservation areas.

Legal Viewpoint: Court issues interpretation of heritage assets policy

Legal Viewpoint: Court issues interpretation of heritage assets policy

In a recent case from Gloucestershire, the High Court considered the interaction between the presumption in favour of sustainable development in paragraph 14 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and the restriction on development affecting heritage assets in paragraph 134.

Legal Viewpoint: Joining the dots on heritage duties in committee reports

Legal Viewpoint: Joining the dots on heritage duties in committee reports

Planning should be about creative judgement and common sense. A recent High Court case on the conversion of a pub next to a north London nightclub into housing highlights the need to get the basics right.