Protecting Islington’s Heritage: Locally Listed Buildings

Members may know that the Society has been closely involved in a review of Islington’s Locally Listed Buildings. These are buildings which have no statutory protection – they are not listed buildings in the usual sense – but which are regarded as valuable to the community for their architectural or historic merit. In the course of this work, we have become increasingly concerned about the state and status of the List, and whether enough or any, attention is being paid to it when planning permissions are being considered.

We have written to the Council in the following terms:

The Society regards Local Listing as an important designation, indicating, as it does, recognition of the value of a number of significant buildings which the community of Islington at large identifies as contributing to the environment, the history and the record of the borough. We are aware from Appeal decisions that the Planning Inspectorate takes this view, too, despite local listing providing no statutory protection.

We are conscious of the continuing process of the revision of the Local List and look forward to its completion.

It has emerged that a number of other significant buildings have been identified by the surveyors and others that are eminently suitable for Local Listing. We regret that there is no provision in the review of the local list for adding buildings to it or even nominating new entries although there is a contrary process for removing entries from the List. Could you let us know why this is and what process should be put in place for expanding the List.

We are aware from stories from the emerging revised Local Listing that several (many, perhaps) of the buildings have been substantially altered or even lost in defiance of the Local listing. There is a special problem, it seems, with disappearing Locally Listed Shopfronts.

There has been loss of some Locally Listed Buildings in Council ownership and of some significant buildings for which planning permission has been granted for demolition under case officer recommendation.

Whilst we recognise that there is no specific statutory protection for Locally Listed Buildings, we consider that local protection should be strengthened, particularly where the Building is also in a Conservation Area. We have in mind:

  • an Article 4 Direction removing any permitted development rights from Locally Listed Buildings in the Borough and/or
  • a clear presumption in Council planning policy that Locally Listed buildings will not be demolished or altered without the same scrutiny to which Statutorily Listed Buildings are subjected.

For this purpose, we would ask you to impose a Local Validation Requirement (LVR) that Locally Listed Buildings must be identified, and we recommend that section 13 of the Heritage Statement of the LVR’s is extended to include the same requirement for Locally Listed Building Applications as for Listed Building Consent Applications. Ideally, you should ask for a separate ‘Locally Listed Building Application’ akin to a Listed Building Consent Application with a suffix “LLB” to flag-up applications for proposals to alter a locally Listed Building, although we recognise that there is no statutory requirement or power for you to do so.