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Khan urged to consider heritage in London Plan

Words: Laura Edgar
Sadiq Khan / Shutterstock: 419649955

Historic England has said heritage can play a key role in underpinning London’s future growth, and has called on Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and the Greater London Authority (GLA) to develop a London Heritage Strategy.

A report by the public body, Translating Good Growth for London’s Historic Environment, argues that regeneration that is heritage-led and designed inspired by heritage not only creates interesting buildings, spaces and places, but also creates jobs, increases footfall, boosts communities and well-being and can be more environmentally sustainable than building from new.

It features 15 cases studies from across the capital to highlight the benefits that can be achieved when the protection and enhancement of historic assets is coupled with innovative and creative architectural responses, says Historic England.

Case studies include:

  • Deptford Market Yard, Lewisham – The oldest surviving railway structure in London has been restored into a “thriving go-to destination” from being “undervalued”. It created 132 new homes and 14 independent start-ups.
  • St Mary of Eton Church, Hackney – Uses the value created by 27 new homes to enable the refurbishment of a grade II* listed church and provision of community spaces.
  • Fitzroy Place, City of Westminster – Generated over £3 million to refurbish grade II* listed Gothic Revival Fitzrovia Chapel, provide new community facilities and create a new public courtyard. It delivered 291 homes and 95,000 square metres of major mixed-use development.

“The Mayor of London’s success will be measured not just on tangible outputs such as the number of jobs and homes created but on the quality of places created” – report

The report, says Historic England, emphasises that repurposing older buildings can provide a boost for community cohesion, demonstrated by St Mary of Eton Church.

It forms part of Historic England’s ‘Keep it London’ campaign, which aims to promoted the capital’s historic environment as a key element of its future.

Ian Morrison, director of planning at Historic England said; “We support the mayor’s call for London to maintain its unique brand so that it continues to be a globally attractive business location which combines the best of old and new. We need to ‘Keep it London’ – and that means playing to the individual heritage strengths of each of the London boroughs.”

He said good growth should provide social well-being through the conservation and enhancement of distinctive places with culture, meaning and identity.

“Places need to be beautiful, varied and interesting to promise civic pride and social harmony – respecting the historic environment is essential to achieving this. Industrial heritage, for example, can be compelling redeployed as workspace for the creative industries, through its flexibility and character.”

Morrison insisted that heritage must have a seat at the table when thinking about how London will deliver good growth. “From planners to developers, we need the industry to understand and champion the value historic buildings can deliver.”

Translating Good Growth for London’s Historic Environment can be found on the Historic England website.

Image credit | Shutterstock