Work done by amenity societies to protect the famous built heritage of Bloomsbury and the surrounding area, and research into Bloomsbury’s heritage and shortcomings in its protection.
We value the walls of our city – the vertical aspects of its historic architecture. But what of the floor of our city, the streets between our buildings? Continue reading A Forgotten Part of London’s Heritage
Bloomsbury has outgrown the status of Conservation Area, and requires something new to properly protect its heritage. ‘A conservation area is an area of special historic or architectural interest, the appearance or character of which it is desirable to preserve … Continue reading Bloomsbury’s Heritage is At Risk
Camden and the GLA prove their total obliviousness to the importance of heritage in today’s decision to approve the demolition of much of the historic Royal Free Hospital on Gray’s Inn Road. Continue reading Historic Hospital Demolition Approved
Bloomsbury’s built heritage is protected by the Bloomsbury Conservation Area and the large number of listed buildings within it. The BCAAC are an independent committee tasked with protecting the Bloomsbury Conservation Area and six surrounding conservation areas.
Despite the importance of Bloomsbury’s heritage, it is being slowly eroded as a result of a pattern of poor decision making on behalf of Camden, and an over-reliance on income generated through approval of large planning applications.
Bloomsbury’s built heritage is being slowly eroded as a result of overdevelopment and a lack of understanding of the importance of heritage from Camden Council.
Learn about the planning system specifically applied to Camden and Bloomsbury, co-authored by a retired senior planner and former chairman of the BCAAC.
Why are Inappropriate Developments Approved?
Most people will know that there is stringent control on modifications to buildings within a conservation area. Camden’s planing department are known for being responsible when it comes to small applications, and apply policy and law correctly.
But then in the midst of this, we see huge and inappropriate buildings dotted throughout Bloomsbury, with applications for further huge and inappropriate buildings being continually approved.
Why are there different rules for people with money?
Part of the reason is that there is a ‘balancing process’ in considering applications. Some amount of harm can be caused to heritage, if it is considered that the public benefit of a proposal outweighs that harm.
However the real reason why we see inappropriate development is that Camden have found an efficient way to extract huge sums of money from developers that have the money to spare. ‘Section 106’ allows Camden to demand money and other items of value in exchange for an application being approved.
The larger the development, the larger the payment. Not only is there a presumption in favour of large buildings, but Camden go so far as to actually encourage developers to build big, at the cost of our communities and heritage.
Camden have managed to raise about £200M over the past five years through this scheme. At least £60M of this has come from the Bloomsbury Conservation Areas.
For comparison, Camden’s budget for this year is about £800M.
Far from being over, Camden plan to raise a further £1B over the next decade through this scheme.
Our heritage has never been under greater threat.
The BCAAC meets once a month to discuss and formulate a response to applications in the Bloomsbury Conservation Areas, while also campaigning against inappropriate development in the area.
The BCAAC can also help in objecting to applications when brought to their attention by residents.