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Appeal: Ex-listed building in conservation area approved for demolition

Hyde Vale / Google Maps

An inspector has approved plans to demolish a Georgian workshop in Greenwich to make way for townhouses after a successful campaign to have the building listed was overturned by the culture secretary.

LOCATIONGreenwich, London
AUTHORITYGreenwich Borough Council

The appeal concerned 1 Hyde Vale, a two-storey commercial building in Greenwich, south-east London that sits within the West Greenwich conservation area (CA), and the buffer zone of the Maritime Greenwich world heritage site (WHS). The building forms one side of Hyde Vale, an “exceptionally complete Georgian streetscape”. 63 Royal Hill, a neighbouring building, is grade-II listed.

The appellant sought permission to replace the building with a terrace of five brick-faced townhouses. According to the architect, the proposed brick pattern is inspired by lacework depicted in portraits of Anne of Denmark, queen consort to King James I, for whom the grade-I listed Queen's House in Greenwich was built.

After proposals were first submitted to redevelop the site, local people campaigned for the building to be listed, presenting evidence showing that it was built in 1828, not in the mid-20th century as the developer had originally claimed.

Historic England supported the campaign, calling the building “a rare example of a Georgian commercial building”, and it was subsequently grade-II listed in 2015. 

This decision was overturned and the building de-listed shortly after, however, when the government’s then-culture secretary ruled that rebuilding work carried out to repair Second World War bomb damage had destroyed “a significant portion of its original fabric”. Plans to redevelop the site were then resubmitted.

At the hearing, the council accepted the demolition of the existing building in principle, after evidence submitted by the appellant showed unsuccessful efforts to market the building for commercial use, and the extent of structural work required to facilitate its reuse.

Considering the proposal, inspector Fort noted that the terrace would be of similar scale to the existing building, and so would not read as an “excessive or dominant intrusion”. Although they are of contemporary design, he found the scheme’s use of pilasters and a parapet would reflect the detailing of the neighbouring listed building. Similarly, the use of brick would help the building to “assimilate with its surroundings”.

In his conclusion, Fort found that the scheme would not harm the neighbouring listed building or wider conservation area. Concluding that it would accord with the development plan as a whole, he allowed the appeal.

The inspector’s report – case reference 3184879 – can be read here.

Image credit | Google Maps