Camden community treasures to receive new protection from developers

Hampstead Cemetery is included on Camden Council's draft 'Local List. Picture: David Howard/Flickr

Hampstead Cemetery is included on Camden Council's draft 'Local List. Picture: David Howard/Flickr - Credit: Archant

Much-loved Camden buildings, gardens, cemeteries and even postboxes will receive greater protection from developers under new council rules.

A change to the council’s planning laws designed to recognise community assets not protected by English Heritage’s statutory listed status was approved by the cabinet on Wednesday last week.

Under the new rules, more than 350 sites have been nominated by residents to form a “Local List” of important community landmarks that will attract special consideration from planning officers if threatened by future developments.

Camden Council leader Cllr Sarah Hayward said: “It will tell developers that this site is of particular significance to Camden people, and it could be significant for a number of reasons.

“It could be architecturally significant, historically significant or a building that everyone regards as ugly but something significant happened in it.

“It doesn’t mean you can’t bulldoze those buildings but it gives an extra layer of protection.”

A final version of the “Local List”, which includes sites in all 18 Camden wards, now awaits formal approval from the council.

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Among the sites on the draft list are the grounds of Athlone House, old parish boundary markers on the wall of The Gatehouse pub, the railway arches next to Gospel Oak station and historic Hampstead Cemetery in West Hampstead.

An “Edward VII pillar box” dating back to 1852, on the corner of Willoughby Road and Rudall Crescent, in Hampstead, is also on the list, as well as eight Victorian lampposts around Hampstead.

Camden Conservative leader Cllr Claire-Louise Leyland asked cabinet if more could be done through a change to council planning rules to protect local pubs from closure by developers.

Cllr Phil Jones, cabinet member for regeneration, transport and planning, said the council would explore “what more can be done” but insisted their “hands are tied by numerous national planning restrictions”.