Putting our residents first
Conservation Area Advisory Panels
A voluntary group of architects, residents associations, historical groups and amenity societies all with an expressed interest in the protection of the historic environment.
These are non-statutory bodies which were first established in the 1970s and were promoted by the government in planning policy guidance as good practice in securing conservation objectives in new developments in or adjoining conservation areas.
All applications for new development and for alterations and extensions to existing buildings are considered by the council's Planning department. In determining these applications, planning officers and planning committee members can benefit greatly from the local knowledge that can be gained from observations and recommendations provided by active local Conservation Area Advisory Panels.
Hillingdon's Conservation Area Panels
Hillingdon's Conservation Area Advisory Panels have the following main functions:
- to assist the council in the formulation of policies and guidance for their conservation areas
- to provide observations on all planning applications which are likely to affect conservation areas (including the listed buildings they contain) or their settings
- to bring breaches of planning control to the attention of the council
- to make recommendations concerning the boundaries of potential conservation areas and modifications to the boundaries of existing conservation areas
- to identify buildings or features of local architectural and historic importance, that may be included in the Local List
- to assist in furthering the education, involvement and support of the general public in conservation issues
How to form a panel
Whilst there is no statutory guidance for the formation of such panels, the following steps are recommended by the council:
- A panel can be formed by a group of volunteers representing major local organisations such as residents association, local history societies and town centre groups. local architects, surveyors and planners not associated with the council may also be included.
- Once formed, the group should appoint a suitable chairman, who has experience of the planning system.
- The appointed chairman should then write to Lloyd White (LWhite@hillingdon.gov.uk), Head of Democratic Services, so that the panel can given the status of an official council consultee.
- The group would need to define their geographical area of interest, so that an automatic consultation can be generated by the council's database in response to applications registered in that area.
- The panel will be notified of planning applications in conservation areas and areas of special local character, and also tree notifications in conservation areas. The information related to the applications can also be downloaded from the council's website.
- The chairman will need to convene a regular meeting of the panel so that they can discuss applications. Ideally, members should meet monthly, to ensure that their written views are reported to a planning committee, as there are strict time limits for deciding applications.
- The chairman and their deputy would also be invited to attend the council's Conservation Forum and will also have the opportunity to speak to planning committee on any agenda item within their area of interest.
- The Panel will be consulted on heritage matters in their area, for example, a new conservation area, or a conservation area appraisal.
There are two points which also need to be emphasised, through long experience of these panels in this Borough and in other boroughs:
- The panel will have more standing with the council if each member actually represents an established group. This will ensure that they are nominated by their peers, rather than volunteering themselves, the latter approach can lead to personal agendas. This method also means that when the Panel member wishes to retire, the organisation is asked to nominate a replacement, and the panel carries on.
- It is important too, that the panel members have some basic knowledge of planning and are a little familiar with looking at drawings. If the views expressed by the panel are very unrealistic, they are unlikely to be taken very seriously.
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12 Apr 2017 at 08:29