Non-designated heritage asset in a Conservation Area – recent Court Judgement

What is the proper approach to a non-designated heritage asset (NDHA) located in a Conservation Area?

That was the issue in Dorothy Bohm v SSCLG [2017] EWHC 3217 Judgement, a challenge to an Inspector’s decision to grant planning permission for the demolition and rebuilding of a dwellinghouse in the Hampstead Conservation Area in London.

Although not a listed building, the existing dwelling (which would be lost in its entirety) made a positive contribution to the Conservation Area and was identified to be a NDHA in its own right (being of local architectural interest).

The judgement clarifies that just because something is a ‘positive contributor’, the Local Planning Authority (LPA) should not automatically protect it from demolition/redevelopment like those that are designated assets.

The scheme would need to be considered as a whole, including the replacement and any public benefits arising from the proposal in terms of the impact on the Conservation Area, with the demolition being just one element. The Inspector’s judgement concluded that the loss of the positively-contributing NDHA did not result in harm to the Conservation Area but noted that the replacement building’s acceptable design would preserve the character of the Conservation Area.

Author: Leila Cramphorne

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