Our core function is to discuss and make heritage-based comments on every planning application within our seven conservation areas, including the world-renowned Bloomsbury. We have been doing this continuously since the Bloomsbury Conservation Area was first designated in 1968.
Our objections are weighted very strongly by Camden's planning officers. More than 80% of applications we object to are subsequently withdrawn or refused if not amended. The figure is even higher for smaller applications.
This is thanks to our status in Camden's constitution and policies, which means our objections must be thoroughly refuted in a long report before an application can be approved against our wishes. Even when this happens, a panel of councillors can decide to overrule officers to make the decision themselves.
Most applications we object to are subsequently approved after we negotiate with the applicant on details in order to rescind our objections. This is usually a fairly quick process and ensures a high standard of scrutiny on planning applications which could not be given by Camden's officers alone.
For larger developments we also undertake site visits, hold workshops, give advice, and liaise with consultants, clients, and architects to ensure emerging proposals preserve and enhance our conservation areas. All of our services are completely free, and thanks to our status, narrow area of focus, and day-to-day working relationship with Camden's officers we can give highly specialised and useful feedback not easily found elsewhere.
We encourage all applicants to contact us at an early stage for emerging proposals of any size, and can give feedback and advice proportionate to the size of the project.
For smaller projects (residential alterations, shopfront changes etc) we can also give general architectural and planning advice, or refer onwards to architects and consultants experienced in conservation in Bloomsbury.
Our Conservation Areas
We cover seven conservation areas, comprising essentially all of Camden's Central London area. If a postcode begins with WC1 or WC2, it is almost certainly within our remit.