Mayor sets out new planning guidance for London’s World Heritage Sites

12 March 2012

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has today (March 12th) published new guidance designed to conserve the settings of the capital’s World Heritage Sites.

The guidance for new development around the Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey, including St Margaret's Church , the Tower of London, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Maritime Greenwich and Darwin's Landscape Laboratory follows a 12 week public consultation and is designed to protect some of the world's most cherished and historic landmarks.

The sites, designated by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites in recognition of their outstanding value of global importance, are vital to London’s rich cultural offer and the Mayor wants to ensure the right guidance is in place to conserve the sites and their settings while welcoming development in the capital and maintaining its status as a world class city.

The amendments update the draft Supplementary Planning Guidance published by the Mayor in October last year, and provide greater clarity on defining the settings surrounding World Heritage Sites while further bringing the draft SPG in line with both English Heritage Guidance on settings and UNESCO operation guidance.

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “London has continued to grow with pioneering new developments juxtaposed with the city's fantastic World Heritage Sites. It's vital that we ensure we strike the right balance, and protect our historic landmarks while at the same time allowing London's economy to grow and prosper.

"This guidance has been drawn up to provide greater clarity for developers on how we can best enhance London's most famous assets."


Notes to editors

• The new supplementary planning guidance can be viewed at ...

• Main changes since the draft SPG (public consultation Oct 2011 – Jan 2012)

 Inclusion of reference to Darwin Landscape Laboratory in relevant sections of the SPG

 Amendments to terminology to be consistent with the UNESCO Operational Guidance

 Clarification on who is responsible for defining the settings of World Heritage Sites in terms of the various stakeholders. This clarification has been made throughout chapters 3, 4, 5 and 6.

 To avoid repetition of some of the issues, the elements of setting have been consolidated and reordered. Those elements of setting remaining have also been amended to include more detailed guidance which is more specific to the context of London’s World Heritage Sites. Additional case studies have also been added to help to illustrate the points.

 Amendments to the assessment framework so that it applies to plan making as well as for development proposals to be consistent with PPS5.

 The steps in the assessment framework have also been slightly amended to ensure consistency with English Heritage’s Setting Guidance and UNESCO Operational Guidance. This includes clarification that the assessment for impact on World Heritage Sites can be part of the general heritage or townscape impact assessment that is an existing requirement for assessing the impact on other heritage assets.

 The tables in appendix 2, 3 and 4 have been amended slightly as result of advice from English Heritage on the interpretation of ICOMOS guidance within the UK context.

 Inclusion of detailed textual suggestions throughout the SPG to provide clarity of points or omissions as well as suggestions for references to other policy documents.