Building Conservation

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

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The significance of the secretary of state’s rejection of the ‘Tulip’ skyscraper

The significance of the secretary of state’s rejection of the ‘Tulip’ skyscraper

A ministerial refusal of plans for a striking City of London tower reflects tougher national policies on design and the new importance of sustainability, say practitioners, as well as new tall building restrictions introduced by the London mayor.

Pincher: Government will go 'further and faster' on brownfield development in coming months

Pincher: Government will go 'further and faster' on brownfield development in coming months

The government intends to go “further and faster” over the coming months to help the development of more brownfield land, including further funding to bring forward such sites and working with councils to "advance brownfield land registers", the housing minister has said.

Pincher refuses 'Tulip' skyscraper on heritage and design grounds

Pincher refuses 'Tulip' skyscraper on heritage and design grounds

The housing minister has refused plans for the proposed 305-metre 'Tulip' tower in the City of London after concluding that the scheme's harm to views of the nearby Tower of London "carries very considerable weight" while its design is "a muddle of architectural ideas" that does not comply with government guidance.

Go-ahead for 78,400sqm City of London office-led scheme despite heritage concerns

Go-ahead for 78,400sqm City of London office-led scheme despite heritage concerns

The City of London Corporation has approved plans for a 78,456 square metre office-led mixed-used development comprising a new 20-storey block and the reconfiguration of a neighbouring Grade II-listed building, after planning officers concluded that heritage impacts would be outweighed by the scheme's benefits.

PINS appeals chief urges planners to have 'thorough understanding' of heritage assets when determining applications

PINS appeals chief urges planners to have 'thorough understanding' of heritage assets when determining applications

Planning decision-makers should ensure they have a "really thorough understanding" of heritage assets when handling applications, and an "honest approach" should be taken to assessing the "magnitude of harm" arising from development proposals that affect such assets, a senior member of PINS has said.

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The wider lessons from the High Court quashing of two secretary of state consents for major road schemes

The wider lessons from the High Court quashing of two secretary of state consents for major road schemes

Two transport secretary approvals of major road schemes were both overturned in the High Court within days of each other. Experts say the rulings highlight the importance of ministers providing enough justification for their conclusions and the challenges posed by the tight timescales for NSIP decisions.

The implications of the housing secretary's Twitter announcement of a heritage policy review

The implications of the housing secretary's Twitter announcement of a heritage policy review

The housing secretary announced via social media a review of heritage policy in the wake of a fellow minister's approval of the redevelopment of a historic bell foundry. Some observers worry that the move undermines confidence in the government's decision-making and suggest that any review is likely to examine how heritage harm is assessed.

How a court ruling will affect decisions on whether new homes are too isolated

How a court ruling will affect decisions on whether new homes are too isolated

Experts say the judgment in the Bramshill Park case will give planning authorities more leeway to interpret when to apply rules preventing development of isolated homes in the countryside.

The implications of tightened planning rules for removing controversial statues

The implications of tightened planning rules for removing controversial statues

Government moves to make it harder for councils to remove historic statues and memorials will mean planners making “political” and “moral” judgments, experts claim, while a requirement to notify the secretary of state when such situations arise is likely to create more work for local authority planning teams.


Building Conservation Comment

Jenrick’s visions of ‘woke’ mobs tearing down statues are a far cry from reality, by Cliff Hague

Jenrick’s visions of ‘woke’ mobs tearing down statues are a far cry from reality, by Cliff Hague

As the secretary of state introduces new protections for historic statues and monuments, planners must maintain a calm and evidence-led approach to re-evaluating townscapes that memorialise people who made fortunes from slavery.

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.