Our Principles

Our principles in judging applications

How do we Consider Applications?

The fundamental test in a conservation area for applications is whether proposed changes preserve or enhance the special character of a conservation area. This special character comprises both special architectural and historic interest.

Planners must weigh up many different aspects of many different policies when determining applications. It is our role to assess only the heritage and conservation aspects of any application, and particularly whether applications pass the fundamental test of preserving or enhancing the special character of the conservation area.

We cover a large area, comprising multiple conservation areas, a map of which can be found here. The special character varies dramatically between our conservation areas, and from place to place and even road to road, the history of London being so varied and diverse. Thus in coming to a decision for our recommendation for approval or rejection, we pay close regard to the local special character of an area, rather than the general special character of a conservation area as a whole. Only those that live or work in an area could understand special character at such a fine level, which is why consultation with us is important.

There are various principles to which we refer in considering any application, and these are written here to give potential applicants an indication of how we are likely to view their application. This is part of ensuring that we can engage applicants at an early and formative stage of their proposals.


In the many redevelopments occurring within our conservation areas, we are principally concerned with ensuring new buildings and extensions conform to local standards of scale and massing, whilst using local materials.
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We are concerned at the poor state of shopfronts in our conservation areas, and try to ensure that new shopfronts respect historic design principles.
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Change of Use

The special interest of a conservation area does not just comprise its appearance, but also its character, and so the use of a building is important for conservationists.
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