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You are here: London Borough of Bromley > Interactive Unitary Development Plan > Written Statement - 6. CONSERVATION AND THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT




  1. To protect and improve the quality of the Borough’s built environment
  2. To encourage a high standard of design of development and to promote sustainable environmental quality
  3. To preserve, enhance and raise awareness of the Borough’s heritage
  4. To improve the appearance of the Borough’s roads and public areas by ensuring good design of street furniture and minimising street clutter
  5. To ensure that development proposals achieve the highest standards of accessibility and inclusion so that all potential users can use them safely and easily, regardless of disability.


6.1 The London Plan supports the fact that the quality and character of London’s urban environment is a major asset valued by those who live, work, visit and invest in the capital. It is essential to protect and improve the quality of the environment in order to maintain London’s attractiveness and competitiveness.

6.2 The London Plan also advises that areas of distinctive architectural character and/or historic or archaeological interest should be identified and conserved. The Borough has an urban environment of a generally high quality; the aim is to protect this quality from development pressures and to enhance it wherever the opportunity arises.

6.3 The Council has taken into account important local views, or views of landmarks or major skyline ridges, across the Borough that should be protected from obtrusive development.


6.4 Many areas of the Borough are characterised by spacious suburban-style development interspersed with varied and attractive open spaces; other areas are more densely developed. Each part has its own character and qualities. Although some of the Borough’s town centres and villages have existed for several hundred years, large parts of the Borough took shape during the late 19th and early 20th centuries during London’s suburban expansion.

6.5 The Borough has a fine heritage of historic buildings, all of which make an important contribution to its character. Many such buildings are in areas of architectural or historic interest, which add to the attractiveness of the Borough and give a sense of continuity with the past.

6.6 New development affects only a small part of the Borough each year, and the likelihood of any widespread changes taking place in the foreseeable future is limited. However, even small developments, alterations to buildings and changes of use, can have a substantial impact within a locality. Over a period of time the cumulative effect of many small changes could alter the overall character of large parts of the Borough.

6.7 The archaeological heritage of the Borough includes historic centres and ancient monuments, and archaeological sites, as well as areas of geology and topography attractive to early settlers. It is also quite probable that sites exist which are as yet undiscovered. These remains are a fragile and finite resource and are the principal remaining evidence of the Borough’s ancient past. They are also extremely vulnerable to development and other changes in land use.

6.8 Conserving and enhancing the built environment also contributes to regeneration and sustainability objectives. Sustainable environmental quality means retaining and enhancing the good aspects of the built environment. This involves conserving and reusing buildings, ensuring that new development is attractive and designed to ensure continued and extensive use by all sections of the community. It can also contribute to regeneration by attracting businesses and generating inward investment, creating a sense of place and reinforcing feelings of civic pride.



All development proposals, including extensions to existing buildings, will be expected to be of a high standard of design and layout. To those ends, proposals will be expected to meet all of the following criteria:

(i) development should be imaginative and attractive to look at, should complement the scale, form, layout and materials of adjacent buildings and areas;
(ii) development should not detract from the existing street scene and/or landscape and should respect important views, skylines, landmarks or landscape features;
(iii) space about buildings should provide opportunities to create attractive settings with hard or soft landscaping;
(iv) relationship with existing buildings should allow for adequate daylight and sunlight to penetrate in and between buildings;
(v) the development should respect the amenity of occupiers of neighbouring buildings and those of future occupants and ensure their environments are not harmed by noise and disturbance or by inadequate daylight, sunlight or privacy or by overshadowing;
(vi) the development should include measures that achieve sustainable design and construction methods including, where appropriate, energy generated by on-site renewable development;
(vii) suitable access should be provided for people with impaired mobility. Where necessary and relevant to the development, contributions may be sought to improve accessibility around the development;
(viii) security and crime prevention measures should be included in the design and layout of building and public areas; and
(ix) applications should be accompanied by a written statement setting out design principles and illustrative material showing relationship of the development to the wider context.

6.9 The Council wishes to secure the creation of an attractive townscape and pleasant living and working conditions by ensuring that all new development (including extensions to existing buildings) makes a positive contribution to the area in which it is located. Good urban design including the space around and between buildings and their landscaping, contributes to the quality of the built environment and can help urban regeneration.

6.10 The design of new development should safeguard public amenity and improve the quality of life in the borough with new development relating well to the character of its surroundings. New development affects the streetscape now and in the future. By careful control, its relationship to its surroundings will encourage appropriate and sensitive designs. The Council will prepare supplementary planning guidance on design. In doing so, and when considering the design aspects of individual proposals, reference will also be made to advice in government guidance such as “Safer Places: The Planning System and Crime Prevention” (ODPM February 2004), “By Design – better places to live” published by DETR/DTLR in association with the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment (CABE), DOE Circular 5/94 “Designing out Crime” and PPS1 Paragraph 37.

6.11 There is a need to encourage local distinctiveness and “sense of place”, particularly through the use of vernacular materials. Good modern design can be imaginative and innovative, and will be welcomed in appropriate circumstances where it contributes positively to the surrounding environment.

6.12 The Council will work in partnership with the police to promote designs and layouts which take account of crime prevention and community safety. Such measures should be taken into account when considering the design and layout of buildings and public areas. These measures can help create places that also connect well with other areas, encouraging the use of public transport, walking and cycling and ensure, for example, the overlooking of public areas, the inclusion of mixed uses that contribute to 24-hour occupancy, and the effective use of landscaping and lighting. In determining planning applications, the Council will refer to “Secured By Design” which is a UK Police Flagship initiative supporting the principles of designing out crime through the use of effective crime prevention and security standards, and other government advice such as ‘Places, Streets and Movement: a Companion Guide to Design Bulletin 32’.

6.13 In major development proposals a design statement should be submitted to the Council to include information on the key design principles, density, mix and distribution of uses, as well as provide sufficient illustrations to demonstrate relationship of the development to its wider surroundings. The Council will also consider making Article 4 Directions where appropriate.

See also: Policies BE3, ER13, H7, NE3 and Supplementary Planning Guidance




The Council will expect proposals, in appropriate cases, to incorporate a mix of land uses. In considering when to require a mix of land uses the Council will have due regard to:

(i) the character and diversity of the surrounding area;
(ii) the scale and nature of the proposed development; and
(iii) whether the extent of the proposals would lead to over-dominance of a single use.

6.14 PPS1 indicates that policies should promote mixed use developments for locations that allow the creation of linkages between different uses and thereby create more vibrant places. Some parts of the Borough, especially in and around the larger town centres, have an established mixed use character that the Council wishes to maintain. The incorporation of an element of mixed use into development schemes for businesses and commercial uses can add variety and diversity of land uses, complementing their surroundings and contributing to sustainable development objectives.

6.15 To ensure a balanced mix of uses, planning permission will be resisted where failure to incorporate a secondary use would have a demonstrably harmful effect upon the character, diversity or vitality of the area. Applicants proposing single uses on sites considered suitable for mixed use will need to justify why they believe a mixed use development is not achievable by reference to physical constraints or in terms of the site’s contribution to the overall mix of uses within the area.

6.16 The amenity and character of existing residential areas should not be undermined by inappropriate new uses. Where a mixed use development includes residential properties, residential amenity should not be compromised. Off street parking spaces in new developments will be expected to be provided at levels no higher than the parking standards, and in order to facilitate mixed-use developments the Council will consider a flexible approach to planning standards for car parking and density which facilitate such developments.

6.17 On sites defined on the Proposals Map and designated for mixed use schemes, proposals should take account of more detailed guidance contained in any relevant planning brief. Planning conditions and/or legal agreements will be required to ensure implementation of all parts of the mixed-use scheme.



When considering proposals for new, existing or replacement buildings in rural areas, the Council will normally require traditional styles of design, high quality materials of local character and a high standard of landscaping and appropriate tree planting.

6.18 The design of new development, including hardstandings and means of enclosure, in the rural parts of the Borough needs to be given special consideration in order to preserve the character of the countryside. Residential buildings should generally reflect traditional forms of development. Suburban style housing will not normally be acceptable. Farm buildings should employ suitable materials and should be located so as to blend with the landscape. The planting of appropriate trees and suitable landscaping can be used to screen or soften the visual impact of new development.



The Council will require a high standard of design and appropriate siting for new street furniture, as well as highway layouts, equipment & surface treatment, to ensure compatibility with surroundings and character of the area, especially in conservation areas, and safe access for people with sensory or mobility impairment. It will seek the removal or re-siting of existing street furniture where this is harmful to visual amenity; and seek to retain street furniture of historic interest in situ.

6.19 The Council seeks to enhance the appearance of the Borough’s streets and ensure a safe and attractive townscape. The Council recognises that the design, siting, construction and maintenance of street furniture is important to the quality of the environment. Through careful design and siting, unnecessary visual clutter, confusion and a general untidy appearance can be avoided.

6.20 The Council is responsible for some street furniture such as benches, litter bins, street lights, planters, recycling banks etc. The postal, telecommunications, gas, water, electricity, highways and transport authorities also have responsibility for providing items of street furniture such as telephone kiosks, junction boxes, post boxes, pouch boxes, bus shelters, notice boards, etc., all of which contribute to the general street scene. The increased number of different operators, changes to the way services and utilities are provided, and new innovative designs, have added a new dimension to the consideration of street furniture. The result is a need for a co-ordinated approach in order to avoid visual clutter of the street scene.

6.21 Historic street furniture makes an important contribution to the character and appearance of many areas. Traditional red telephone boxes, post boxes, ornamental lamp columns, drinking fountains, cattle troughs, monuments and memorials provide a sense of historical continuity and identity and can be of architectural interest. The Council wishes to protect these historic and characteristic street-scene features.

See also: Policy BE21




The Council will encourage proposals for public art, where appropriate, to enhance buildings and open spaces.

6.22 Public art can take a number of forms including fine art, sculpture, murals, street furniture, paving and lighting. It can enhance an area visually, add interest, and create a sense of pride in the local environment. Public art can contribute to, and strengthen, the increasing awareness of “place”. The Council wishes to secure public art in relation to development proposals through planning obligations.

See also: Chapter 16: Implementation




The Council will encourage, where appropriate, environmental improvements that enhance visual amenities and create a sense of place and local distinctiveness.

6.23 Where possible, the Council will enter into partnership with the private sector and/or voluntary organisations to undertake environmental improvement schemes. Normally, only those schemes that are visible from the public highway will be considered.

See also: Policy S14




The Council will:

(i) seek to ensure the retention of railings, walls, plantings and hedgerows of native species and other means of enclosure where they form an important feature of the streetscape; and
(ii) resist the construction or erection of high or inappropriate enclosures where such boundary enclosures would erode the open nature of the area, or would adversely impact on local townscape character.

6.24 Existing enclosures, such as railings, gates, fences, walls or hedges, often form characteristic features within the street scene. The Council believes they should be protected and maintained. The Council would also discourage their removal to provide off-street parking, the accumulation of which can have an adverse effect on the character and appearance of an area. Similarly, the introduction of new boundary enclosures can have a significant effect on the character of an area. It is important that new enclosures are appropriate in scale, location and design.

6.25 Proposals for new enclosures in Conservation Areas, open-plan estates and rural areas may prove to have particularly significant effects; any such proposals will be stringently tested and the impact on the wider area taken into account.

See also: Policy NE9




Applications for development involving a listed building or its setting, or for a change of use of a listed building, will be permitted provided that the character, appearance and special interest of the listed building are preserved and there is no harm to its setting. In the case of a change of use, the applicant needs to additionally demonstrate that the existing or last use is not viable or is no longer compatible with the building’s fabric, interior or setting.


Applications for planning permission that involve total or substantial demolition of a listed building will not be permitted unless:

(i) there is clear and convincing evidence that reasonable efforts have been made to continue the present use or to find a viable use for the building, and these efforts have failed, and it is demonstrated that preservation of the building as part of the development or in some form of charitable or community ownership is not possible or suitable, or;
(ii) the costs of repairs or maintenance of the building cannot be justified against its importance or the value derived from its retention, provided that the building has not been deliberately neglected, or;
(iii) there will be substantial planning benefits for the community from redevelopment which would decisively outweigh the loss from the resulting demolition;

A condition will be imposed to ensure that the demolition will not take place until a contract has been let for the carrying out of the development that necessitates the demolition.

6.26 Under the provisions of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 and the guidance in PPG15, the Council is required to have special regard to the desirability of preserving listed buildings and their settings. The Council will seek to ensure the preservation and conservation of buildings of historical and architectural interest.

6.27 There are a number of buildings in the Borough which are listed under Section 1 of the 1990 Act, as being of special architectural or historic interest (i.e. they are included on the Statutory List of Buildings of Architectural or Historic Interest). They make a significant contribution to the heritage of the Borough; and so the Council will pursue all reasonable means to ensure that they are protected.

6.28 Government and local policy is to secure the preservation of listed buildings. The above policy will be applied to ensure that demolition is carefully assessed and avoidable. In assessing the efforts made to sustain existing uses or find viable new uses, the evidence could include the offer of the unrestricted freehold of the building at a price that reflects its condition. The architectural merits of the proposed replacement are not determinants for demolition but the Council will need to be satisfied that what is proposed is acceptable. To this end, full applications will be required, to enable a proper assessment to be made. In some instances it may be necessary to record demolished or altered listed buildings.

6.29 The Council will also have regard to the setting of a listed building when considering proposals within its curtilage or on adjacent land. Historic buildings can be seriously devalued by being seen in proximity to other development of inappropriate design. Indeed, where the opportunity arises, the Council will consider sympathetically proposals which involve the demolition or replacement of buildings that adversely affect the setting of a listed building.

See also: Supplementary Planning Guidance



A proposal to alter, extend or for the change of use of a locally listed building will be permitted provided that:

(i) it will be sympathetic to the character, appearance and special local interest of the building; and
(ii) will respect its setting.

Permission will only be granted for the replacement of such buildings where:

(iii) applicants have demonstrated that all reasonable options for the retention of the building have been considered; and
(iv) the proposed new building is of an exceptionally high standard of design.

6.30 Buildings deemed to be of local or historical interest are included on the Council’s Local List as they contribute to the townscape or character of the Borough and the Council deems these buildings worthy of protection. The Council will encourage the preservation and conservation of buildings on the Local List.

6.31 The Council will strongly encourage the retention of buildings on the Local List. If demolition should prove necessary then the Council will require that they are replaced with buildings of exceptional architectural merit. The Council will also aim to protect the character and setting of locally listed buildings, and endeavour to shield them from unsympathetic development. The Council will also only consider outline applications involving the redevelopment of locally listed buildings, when accompanied by illustrative details.

See also: Supplementary Planning Guidance



In order to preserve or enhance the character or appearance of conservation areas, a proposal for new development, for engineering works, alteration or extension to a building, or for change of use of land or buildings within a conservation area will be expected to:

(i) respect or complement the layout, scale, form and materials of existing buildings and spaces;
(ii) respect and incorporate in the design existing landscape or other features that contribute to the character, appearance or historic value of the area; and
(iii) ensure that the level of activity, traffic, parking services or noise generated by the proposal will not detract from the character or appearance of the area.


A proposal for a development scheme that will involve the total or substantial demolition of an unlisted building in a conservation area that makes a positive contribution to its character or appearance will not be permitted unless the following can be demonstrated:

(i) there is clear and convincing evidence that reasonable efforts have been made to continue the present use or to find a viable use for the building and these efforts have failed and it is demonstrated that preservation of the building as part of the scheme or in some form of charitable or community ownership is not possible or suitable, or
(ii) the costs of repairs or maintenance of the building cannot be justified against its importance or the value derived from its retention, provided that the building has not been deliberately neglected, or
(iii) there will be substantial planning benefits for the community from redevelopment which would decisively outweigh loss from the resulting demolition.

Acceptable and detailed plans for a replacement scheme will be required, even if it will involve total or substantial demolition of an unlisted building in a conservation area that makes little or no contribution to the character or appearance of that area.

A condition will be imposed on a planning permission granted, to ensure that demolition shall not take place until a contract for the carrying out of the development works has been made.


A development proposal adjacent to a conservation area will be expected to preserve or enhance its setting and not detract from view into or out of the area.

6.32 Each Conservation Area, as shown on the Proposals Map, consists of a group or groups of buildings and trees in a particular setting. The Council is required to pay special attention to the desirability of preserving or enhancing the character or appearance of conservation areas, and will do so by maintaining strict control over development. Detailed guidelines for each are contained in published policy statements, as required under Section 71 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990. Reference will also be made to the English Heritage publication ‘Streets for All’. Detailed plans will be expected to accompany applications in conservation areas. Outline applications that cannot be assessed against the requirements of the policy could be refused for lack of detail.

6.33 The Council has the power to control total or substantial demolition in conservation areas. There will be a general presumption in retaining buildings that the Council considers make a positive contribution to the area’s character or appearance. Reference will be made to the relevant government guidance documents, including “Guidance on Conservation Areas Appraisal – Appendix 2” (English Heritage, 2005) when assessing if a building makes a positive contribution to a Conservation Area. Proposals for demolition of buildings will be assessed against the same broad considerations as for demolition of listed buildings (see Policy BE12 above).

6.34 Where new development takes place, within or adjoining conservation areas, a good and sympathetic design is vital to maintain existing standards. Applicants are encouraged to seek advice from the Council prior to making applications and to obtain professional advice on design. Such considerations as to the height, bulk, materials and landscaping of a building are especially important to the acceptability of schemes in conservation areas. Outline applications should be accompanied by illustrative details of the proposed development.

6.35 In commercial parts of conservation areas, the design, form and materials of shopfronts, signs and fascias, make an important contribution to local character. The Council will seek to ensure that a high standard of design and materials is achieved in any replacement shopfront and advertisements in such areas. The retention or reintroduction of traditional features can add significantly to the character and appearance of the host building and the conservation area in general, and will be encouraged. Under Section 71 of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, the Council is required to prepare schemes for the preservation and enhancement of conservation areas. These will be carried out in association with local residents and interest groups.

6.36 The Council is required to review conservation areas from time to time, with changing attitudes to styles of architecture and environmental quality. Calls to designate further conservation areas during the plan period will be considered on their merits in the light of national guidance (para 4.2 of PPG15). The Council will consider making Article 4 directions where appropriate and, where expedient to do so, will make use of its enforcement powers.

See also: Policies BE8, BE14, BE19, BE20, BE21, Appendix III and SPG




Development will not be permitted if it will damage or lead to the loss of one or more trees in conservation area, unless:

(i) removal of the tree/s is necessary in the interest of good arboricultural practice, or
(ii) the reason for the development outweighs the amenity value of the tree/s.
(iii) in granting permission for the development, one or more appropriate replacement trees of a native species will be sought either on or off site through the use of conditions or planning obligations.

6.37 The Council recognises that trees often make an important and valuable contribution to the conservation area and will resist proposals where their health or visual amenity is threatened. When consent is given for a tree to be felled, a proper and appropriate replacement will usually be required as a condition of that consent.



Applications within or adjoining a registered historic park or garden will be expected to protect the special features, historic interest and setting of the park or garden. The Council will seek to ensure that the park or garden is appropriately managed or maintained in a manner which reflects its status and designation.

6.38 English Heritage compiles a Register of Parks and Gardens of Special Historical Interest in England (National Heritage Act 1983). The main purpose of the Register is to identify historic parks and gardens that are of importance, in the national context, to England’s cultural heritage, and to encourage their appreciation, maintenance and enhancement.

6.39 All sites on the Register are considered to be of special interest, by reason of, for example, their historic layout, features and architectural ornaments. Their individual importance varies, however, and they are classified into three categories: Grade I (of exceptional historic interest); Grade II* (of great historic interest); and Grade II (of special historic interest). The Register includes the following parks within the London Borough of Bromley:

(i) Grade II*: Crystal Palace Park
(ii) Grade II: Down House, Holwood Park, Sundridge Park, Priory Gardens

6.40 The Register does not provide statutory protection, nor does it imply any additional powers to control development. However, the historic interest of a park or garden has been established as a material planning consideration, and in considering applications on the sites in the London Borough of Bromley, the Council will consult English Heritage. The Council will review from time to time other historic parks and gardens within the Borough with a view to identifying their special interest. English Heritage, London Historic Parks & Gardens Trust and others will be consulted as part of the review process.

See also: Policies BE11, BE14 & G2




Planning permission will not be granted for development that would adversely affect scheduled ancient monuments or other nationally important archaeological sites, involve significant alterations to them or harm their settings.

When considering planning applications for development involving excavation or other ground works the Council will require that:

(i) within Areas of Archaeological Significance, as defined on the Proposals Map and listed in Appendix IV, a written statement of the likely is submitted in the form of an archaeological assessment (which can be desk based); where necessary information cannot be obtained by other means, an archaeological field evaluation should be carried out prior to determination;
(ii) at sites of potential archaeological importance (as defined below), where permanent preservation in situ is not justified, provision shall be made for an appropriate level of investigation and recording to be is undertaken by a recognised archaeological organisation before any development commences.

Where investigations indicate that in situ preservation is inappropriate, excavation and recovery should be carried out by a reputable archaeological body, before development commences. Any such investigations shall be in accordance with a detailed scheme to be approved in advance by the Council and the results shall be subsequently published.

Where in situ preservation is appropriate, suitable designs, land uses and management strategies will be required and the Council’s archaeology strategy promoted.

6.41 Ancient monuments and archaeological remains constitute the principal surviving evidence of the Borough’s past. However they are vulnerable to modern development and changes in land use and are easily lost or damaged. The Council considers that preservation of archaeological sites and ancient monuments is a legitimate objective against which the demands of development must be balanced and fully assessed. The destruction of such remains should be avoided and should never take place without prior archaeological excavation and record.

6.42 In addition to Areas of Archaeological Significance, there are locations outside these defined boundaries where archaeological remains have been found and where there may be potential for further finds. Where development is proposed within an Area of Archaeological Significance (as shown on the Proposals Map), or near a site of archaeological potential, the Council will require a preliminary archaeological site evaluation before proposals are considered. The council will seek the appropriate professional advice and will require applicants proposing development to do the same. Where the Council considers it appropriate, detailed investigation shall be carried out to an agreed written specification of work by a professionally qualified archaeological organisation or archaeological consultant.

6.43 The Council will encourage early co-operation between landowners, developers and archaeologists in accordance with the Developers Liaison Group Code of Practice, and by attaching appropriate conditions to planning consents, and/or negotiate appropriate planning obligations (section 106 agreements).

6.44 It is important to increase public awareness of the historical and archaeological heritage of the Borough and to encourage its effective management as an educational and recreational resource. The Council will promote the conservation, protection and enhancement of ancient monuments and archaeological sites and their interpretation and presentation to the public.

6.45 The following sites in the Borough have been scheduled as Ancient Monuments:

(i) Fordcroft, Poverest Road, Orpington – Romano-British Site/Anglo Saxon Cemetery
(ii) Caesar's Camp, Holwood Park, Keston - Iron Age hill fort
(iii) Camp on Keston Common, Keston – earthworks
(iv) The Temple, west of Keston Court, Westerham Road, Keston – Romano British mausoleum
(v) Romano-British villa, Crofton Road, Orpington
(vi) St. Botolph's Church, Ruxley - former mediaeval church on site of earlier church
(vii) Romano-British site, Wickham Court Farm, West Wickham – site of substantial Romano British settlement
(viii) Ice Well at High Elms.

Sites (i), (iii), (iv), (v), (vii) and (viii) are owned by the Council.

6.46 The Council has published its Archaeological Strategy and will seek to use the planning process to implement its objectives. The Strategy provides a framework for dealing with archaeological issues and draws upon Planning Policy Guidance Note 16: Archaeology and Planning published by the Department of the Environment in 1990. Supplementary planning guidance will be prepared on archaeological issues and the preparation of statements.

See also: Appendix IV




Proposals for buildings that significantly exceed the general height of buildings in the area will be expected to provide the following:

(i) a design of outstanding architectural quality that will enhance the skyline;
(ii) a complete and well-designed setting, including hard and soft landscaping, so that development will interact and contribute positively to its surroundings at street level;
(iii) mixed use at effective densities; and
(iv) good access to public transport nodes and routes.

Applications should be accompanied by a design statement outlining the approach in relation to the local and wider context and how the above criteria and those of Policy BE1 will be achieved.

When considering proposals for redevelopment, where appropriate, opportunities will be sought to replace high buildings with others that fit more sympathetically in their context.

6.47 High buildings are those that exceed the general height of their surroundings. This includes all types of structures such as masts, pylons and chimneys. High buildings are not generally in keeping with the established character and scale of the Borough: much of the existing development is of two storeys and a building of three storeys or more could have a detrimental visual impact and be out of scale with existing development. While the Council considers that there are limited opportunities in the Borough where high buildings would be appropriate, the policy provides the necessary means of achieving high quality designs with wide benefits in the few circumstances where such buildings would be considered acceptable. Suitable locations have not been identified by the Council, but each proposal will be considered on its merits.

6.48 Developers will normally be required to provide illustrations showing the relationship of a proposal to existing development, both locally and in relation to the whole area from which it would be visible.

6.49 The maximum height of buildings and other structures in the vicinity of Biggin Hill is also governed by the GPDO (1995) and by other special controls. These include Public Safety Zones (PSZs) which are areas of land extending outwards from the ends of the main runway where development is restricted, as set out in the Department for Transport Circular 1/2002. A wider area around the airport is safeguarded under the Department of Transport Circular 1/2003 which requires that certain planning applications will be subject of special consultation procedures to ensure that building, structures, or other works do not inhibit the operation and development of the Airport.

See also: Policy BE1, BE2, BE3 & Chapter 12 Biggin Hill Airport



Development that adversely affects important local views, or views of landmarks or major skyline ridges, as identified in Appendix VII, will not be permitted

6.50 The insensitive siting of buildings (both high and low) can often intrude upon otherwise pleasing views. Strategic views, as defined by the Secretary of State for the Environment in Strategic Guidance, do not affect the Borough but the Council wishes to protect important local views, landmarks, and major skyline ridges from insensitive development. These are listed in Appendix VII.



When considering applications for shopfronts the Council will require that:

(i) the proposal is well-related to its context whether this is the host building, parade or wider street scene as a whole;
(ii) all proposals are of a high quality of design and use appropriate materials;
(iii) period design shopfronts and existing or original features are retained or reintroduced where appropriate;
(iv) deep or uninterrupted fascias, or those which extend above ground floor level are avoided;
(v) stall risers are provided, and are well-related in scale and height to the host and, where appropriate, neighbouring properties;
(vi) display windows at first floor level are avoided; and
(vii) appropriate provision is made for access by those with mobility impairment.

6.51 The design of shopfronts has a critical role to play in the creation of attractive, vibrant and economically successful town centres. They are frequently replaced and altered as tenants change. As the character and appearance of a shopping parade or street is determined by the design and detailing of its individual components, it is important that any proposals are viewed in respect of the wider environment as well as the individual unit.

6.52 Good design can make a positive contribution to urban character. It is vital that designs and materials of shopfronts are sympathetic to the scale and existing features of the host building and its surroundings. In particular the standardisation of shop design is often at odds with the traditional scale of the buildings. The original character and individual qualities of buildings in shopping centres should be preserved. In conservation areas and historic buildings it is particularly important that materials relate to the period, style and character of the buildings.

6.53 In Conservation Areas the Council will seek the retention of shopfronts that contribute to the street scene even when the commercial use has ceased.

See also: Policy S10 & Supplementary Planning Guidance



When considering applications for security shutters, the Council will resist solid shutters, or those shutters that give the appearance of being solid. It will normally permit shutters of an open type where:

(i) shutter boxes are not over dominant, are contained within the shopfront and do not project from the face of the building; and
(ii) both shutter boxes and shutters are not of untreated metal and are colour co-ordinated to match the shopfront.

6.54 Security shutters and grilles can have a significant effect on the character and appearance of the Borough’s shopping areas. The quality of the environment in shopping centres is vital if they are to remain active and economically viable. Inappropriate and excessive new shopfront security can have a detrimental effect.

6.55 Design issues regarding shutters are also important. It should be demonstrated that all other security measures, such as strengthened shopfronts, toughened laminated glass, security lighting, and appropriate glazing have all been considered. The use of lattice shutters or grilles internally (on the inside of the glass) is also another favoured alternative.

6.56 As a rule, shutters should avoid an unrelated “add on” appearance, only cover glazed areas and not obscure original shopfront features. Shutter boxes should be contained within the shopfront, should not be over obtrusive or dominant, nor project from the face of the building. In both cases, untreated metal should be avoided and a colour co-ordinated approach adopted.

6.57 Solid shutters, or those that give the appearance of being solid, have a deadening effect on the character and appearance of an area and should be avoided. When they are down they obscure the details of the shopfront and window display and they are also susceptible to graffiti and flyposting. Similarly, perforated shutters with viewing panels, cut outs, or holes allow only a limited view into an illuminated shop at night from a position directly opposite. Open mesh or lattice shutters are preferred as they allow a clear view into the shop and maintain a visible window display, and are considered to provide adequate protection to most shop fronts.

6.58 Listed buildings have a strong architectural or historical character. It is particularly important to use materials and designs that relate to the period and style of the building. As a rule, security shutters will not generally be considered appropriate on such buildings. In Conservation Areas development should preserve or enhance the character or appearance of the area. Therefore security shutters and grilles should be particularly sensitively designed in these locations.

See also: Supplementary Planning Guidance




Advertisements, hoardings and signs should:

(i) have regard to the character of the surrounding area;
(ii) be in keeping with the scale, form and character of any buildings on which they are placed;
(iii) generally not be located in residential areas and the Green Belt, Metropolitan Open Land(MOL) and Urban Open Space;
(iv) preserve or enhance the character or appearance of conservation areas; and
(v) not be likely to create a hazard to road-users.

Illuminated fascia signs, projecting signs and means of external illumination will not normally be permitted within conservation areas, in primarily residential areas or on listed or locally listed buildings.

In the case of illuminated signs, the council will impose appropriate conditions to control the illuminated area, luminance and hours of operation. Where external illumination is involved, the means of illumination should not be over-prominent or obtrusive.

Signs above fascia level will be unacceptable unless it can be demonstrated that they make a positive contribution to the character of the area.

Street advertising should be in scale and character with the street scene and area and should not be over prominent or appear as an obtrusive feature.

6.59 Advertisements and signs are defined as including: fascia signs, projecting signs, pole signs, posters and street advertising (including those on bus shelters, street furniture and free-standing advertisements on forecourts etc.), and their means of illumination.

6.60 Advertisements and signs are an important part of the street scene and can make an attractive and lively contribution to the appearance of shopping areas. The uncontrolled display or illumination of advertisements and signs, however, could lead to visual intrusion and clutter which the Council wishes to avoid. In all cases, advertisements and signs should be in keeping with the scale and character of the surrounding area or the buildings on which they are located.

6.61 In many parts of the Borough, including residential areas, the Green Belt/MOL, conservation areas, and historic parks, advertisements and signs, including their means of external illumination, can be visually intrusive and detrimental to the character of an area or building on which they are located. Within the designated areas applications for consent will be closely scrutinised to ensure that the proposals do not compromise the quality or aims of the area’s special designation. A large part of the Green Belt has been defined as an Area of Special Control under the Control of Advertisements Regulations. Within such an Area there are restrictions on the height and size of signs that can be displayed without the express consent of the Council. The Council will consider designating additional Areas of Special Control where advertisement signs should be sensitively designed and located.

6.62 In considering whether an advertisement or sign would be likely to have an impact on the safety of road-users, the Council will have regard to the advice in PPG19 paragraphs 15-16 and Annex B of Circular 5/92.

6.63 The Council will prepare supplementary planning guidance on the design of advertisements and signs, their means of internal or external illumination, and the conditions likely to be imposed where they are permitted.

See also: Policy BE4, BE15 and Supplementary Planning Guidance


6.64 Advertisement hoardings will not generally be acceptable, except during the period of construction where there is a valid planning permission for development of a site, or unless they publicise local events. They will also normally be resisted in Conservation Areas and residential and rural parts of the Borough, even on a temporary basis.



In a development involving telecommunication mast, base station or apparatus, applicants will be required to demonstrate that:

(i) the possibility of using an existing building, mast or other structure has been explored and proved to be unsuccessful;
(ii) where the proposal is on or near a school or college, the relevant body of the school or college has been consulted;
(iii) there is a need for the proposed development;
(iv) the equipment will meet the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) guidelines on the limitation of exposure of the general public to electro-magnetic field;
(v) it will not adversely affect the character and appearance of the area or those of the building on which it is to be mounted;
(vi) will not adversely affect the visual and residential amenity of occupiers of neighbouring or host properties; and
(vii) the visual impact of the development can be minimised by the use of screening by trees or other landscaping.

6.65 This policy applies to various types of commercial telecommunications apparatus including purpose built masts, cellular radio antennae, terrestrial microwave antennae and satellite antennae or dishes.

6.66 Whilst certain telecommunications development does not need the Council’s express consent, where such apparatus does require permission, of primary consideration is that steps are taken to minimise any visual harm to the environment and respects local character.

6.67 Telecommunications apparatus can have a particularly deleterious effect upon an area. Unlike most other forms of development, traditional materials appropriate to a specific location cannot be used. The Council appreciates that the siting of apparatus can be crucial to ensure the reception of clear signals and that modern telecommunications systems form an important part of today’s economy. In line with government guidance the Council recognises that whilst the growth of new and existing systems should be facilitated, the Council must maintain its commitment to environmental objectives and the protection of the countryside and urban areas. The sharing of masts and sites is strongly encouraged where that represents the optimum environmental solution in a particular case.

6.68 This policy is intended to secure a balance between the expansion of telecommunications and minimising the impact on the environment. It is based upon the premise that new transmission requirements should where possible be accommodated on existing sites with the sharing of aerials, so that impact on the environment is lessened.

See also: Supplementary Planning Guidance



The Council will permit the installation of satellite dishes provided that:

(i) they are, where possible, located at the rear of the property and are unobtrusive within the street scene;
(ii) the use of shared dishes has been explored by the applicant; and
(iii) they do not adversely affect the character or appearance of the building or the area, or the visual amenity of neighbouring properties.

6.69 This policy applies primarily to non-commercial premises i.e. houses and flats. The introduction of satellite telecommunications including satellite television has led to an increased demand in satellite dishes particularly for domestic use. A single satellite dish on a dwelling house will not usually require planning permission provided the installation meets certain criteria as set out in Part 1, Class H of the GPDO.

6.70 The Council will seek to ensure that that the siting of apparatus does not detract from the appearance of buildings and the streetscene. As a general rule they should not be visible from the public realm, nor should they be overbearing or dominant in appearance. They should not adversely affect the residential amenities of adjoining neighbours.

See also: Supplementary Planning Guidance


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