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5 Edwardes Place, Kensington, London W8 6LR
In respect of proposals by OB Architecture
‘Internal and external alterations and single storey rear extension’.
June 2015
Site Location and Description
Historic Significance
Architectural and Heritage Significance
Planning History
Policy Constraints
Assessment and Justification
The owner of 5 Edwardes Place has commissioned RMA Heritage to undertake a
heritage significance assessment of the site, which is a Grade II listed building. This
report accompanies an application consultation for listed building consent and planning
permission for proposals put forward by Olly Bray BArch, Director, OB Architecture. His
practice is an award winning architects’ studio that specialise in contemporary design
and high quality refurbishment including several successful listed building projects.
The proposals involve some internal re-ordering and remodelling of rooms, external
alterations including restoration of sash windows, replacing a modern front basement
well staircase and providing a new walkway to a rear roof terrace and a new rear infill
single storey extension. There will also be upgrading of services and refurbishment as
the house was last refurbished over 30 years ago. The current proposals have been
informed by this report and are intended to rationalise how the house is used, provide
additional living accommodation, update facilities and restore original features.
This report aims to assess the heritage significance of 5 Edwardes Place, an early 19th
century townhouse and part of a Grade II listed terrace of five properties. We will
discuss the current proposals, assess their impact on the significance of the listed
building and address the concerns of the Conservation Officer to the recently withdrawn
scheme (PP/15/01788). We will also review national and local development plan
policies and assess the proposals against these.
Richard MacCullagh MRTPI IHBC, Principal, RMA Heritage has written this report and is
currently advising on heritage planning issues. Richard has 20 years professional
experience of advising on historic environment and design issues. Before establishing
RMA Heritage, Richard managed the Conservation and Design Team at Winchester City
Council, 1998-2008. Richard has worked with a wide variety of architects, ranging in
diversity of practice from Donald Insall Associates to Zaha Hadid Architects. He has
also had articles published in the Building Conservation Directory on conservation areas
(2009) and extending listed buildings (2013). Laura Berry BA (Hons), Historical
Research Consultant, wrote the historic significance section and undertook the historic
archive research. Laura is an experienced historical researcher specialising in building
and family histories.
Site Location and Description
The site is located on the southern side of Kensington High Street and forms the
westernmost house in a terrace of five houses, which is set back from the road behind
an attractively planted communal front garden that provides them with some seclusion
from the bustle of Kensington High Street. No.5 is a 2-bay 4-storey over basement
townhouse which along with the rest of the terrace is Grade II listed (see Appendix 1 for
list description). The terrace was built as part of the adjacent Edwardes Square
development in the early 19th century and shares some similar design characteristics to
the larger houses at 1-25 Earls Terrace to the east. To the west of the site and sitting
significantly forward of it is a 4-storey terrace of six commercial premises (1-6 Edwardes
Terrace), which was developed after Edwardes Place in the 1820s.
The house has a basement lightwell to the front, which is enclosed by spearheaded iron
railings and the 6-panel front door has an elegant round arched fanlight above. The
ground floor is white stucco with yellow-brown brickwork to the floors above and there is
a continuous cast iron balcony to the 1st floor with a stringcourse above the 2nd floor and
at roof level a stone capping to the plain brick parapet. The ground floor has a pair of 4pane sash windows with 1st floor French windows above and replacement casement
windows to the 2nd and 3rd floors (see Appendix 2 for photographs of the site).
The rear elevation is also built from yellow-brown brickwork with a 2-storey closet return
wing with 12-pane sash windows to basement and ground floor and a roof terrace above
this. The rear basement room has French windows and there is a 16-pane sash window
to the ground floor window above. The 1st floor rear room has tall margin pane
casement windows with an iron balcony and there are also French windows to the halflanding next to the roof terrace. The 2nd floor bedroom has a modern casement window
but the other windows are original sashes. The roof is not visible behind the parapet but
is of a double pile type.
The rear garden is enclosed by brick walls and extensively paved with shrub borders and
a magnolia tree. The surrounding buildings largely absorb traffic noise from Kensington
High Street. The adjoining terrace houses all have roof terraces to their closet wings
and unlike 5 Edwardes Place have balcony access from the their 1st floor rear reception
rooms. Their gardens are also mostly laid to lawn. The rear plots of the buildings to the
west are all built up and the one adjacent to the site has a 2-storey wing but without any
windows looking onto the site. The houses to the south of the site on Edwardes Square
retain their gardens although some have substantial rear wings including two which are a
storey taller than the front elevation to the respective houses.
The site is located in the Edwardes Square Conservation Area which was designated in
1970. Apart form the sometimes-intrusive traffic noise from Kensington High Street, the
over-riding impression of the site is that it is an elegant early 19th century London
Historic Significance
Kensington parish is a long narrow stretch of land to the west of London. The environs
of St Mary Abbots Church form its historic heart and settlement here can be dated back
to Saxon times.1 The Domesday Book of c.1086 recorded that the manor of Kensington
belonging to Aubrey de Vere had about 240 inhabitants, 3 acres of vineyard, together
with woodland, meadows and pasture valued at £6.2 In the early 16th century Henry VIII
enclosed Hyde Park to the east of the parish boundary for hunting, and in the late 17th
century William III established Kensington Palace as a royal residence. Piecemeal
development along the High Street resulted in continuous development along its
frontage, but it is evident from mid-18th century maps that Kensington remained a village
formed around the turnpike into London and Church Street, set amidst fields and remote
from the capital. Speculative development spread gradually across estates in the south
of the parish during the early 19th century when the area transformed into a fashionable
suburb (see Appendix 4 Historic Maps).
Lord Kensington, a descendant of William Edwardes, 1st Lord Kensington, granted a
lease to Louis Leon Changeur in 1811 to build on 11 acres of his land south of the High
Street, however the venture was beset with problems and resulted in Changeur being
declared bankrupt in 1812.3 During the time of construction Edwardes Place was known
as Elderton Row.4 According to the Survey of London, Changeur’s principal backer was
attorney William Elderton Allen, after whom Elderton Row was named.5
A ‘Plan of Buildings erected by Mr L. L. Changeur in the Parish of Kensington’ (see
Appendix 5) was set before the Westminster Commissioners of Sewers in May 1812,
showing a continuous terrace of 10 properties on the site of Elderton Row, with a note
that “these are now building”.6 The plots were laid out to the north west of Edwardes
Square, with Earls Court Terrace (now Earls Terrace) set back from the High Street and
flanked by Elderton Row and Leonards Row set closer to the road. However, these
plans were altered in due course since the estate took longer to develop than
anticipated, partly owing to a slump in the housing market that lasted until 1817. 7
Following bankruptcy proceedings, Changeur retired to France and left the unfinished
houses in his creditors’ possession. Some were said to be “only in part built and not
Hobhouse, H. (1986) Survey of London: Volume 42: Kensington Square to Earl’s Court English
Heritage, pp.77-98
_0001.jpg&size=medium (accessed 23 December 2015)
3 Fraser, R. (1982) Conservation Area Proposals Statement, Edwardes Square, Scarsdale and Abingdon
Conservation Area RBKC
4 RBKC Local Studies, Card Index, WCS.P/10/321a
5 Hobhouse, H. (1986) Survey of London: Volume 42 English Heritage, pp.249-263
6 LMA, WCS/P/6/160
7 Hobhouse, H. (1986) Survey of London: Volume 42 English Heritage, pp.249-263
covered in and the whole are in an exposed and delapidating state for want of Tenancy
and completion and consequently decreasing daily in value and incurring heavy charges
of ground rents and interest”.8 Daniel Sutton, a carpet manufacturer and speculative
developer who had invested heavily in ground rents for the plots fronting the High Street,
was named as the owner of Elderton Row in 1815.9
Elderton Row had evidently been renamed by 1819 when an Act was passed for
“paving, cleansing, lighting, watching, watering, planting and otherwise improving
Edwardes Place, Edwardes Square, Earl's Terrace, Leonard Place, Kensington Place
East, and Kensington Place West”.10 In 1820 Sutton took measures towards completing
1–5 Edwardes Place, set back from the road, and neighbouring 1–6 Edwardes Terrace,
which abutted the pavement and was first occupied in 1827.11 The latter became used
for commercial premises at ground floor level.12
Starling’s Map of 1822 shows that Edwardes Place had been built, but not Edwardes
Terrace. The Edwardes Square development was still surrounded by fields and the
majority of building on the High Street was further to the east. The English Heritage List
Description for 1–5 Edwardes Place notes that these houses have 4 storeys plus
basements and are “2 window houses, very much as Earl’s Terrace”.13 According to
Hobhouse, “those in Earl's Terrace… are virtually identical in outward appearance to
houses in Montague Street, Bloomsbury, where Changeur had previously been
Daniel Sutton became one of the first residents on the Edwardes Square Estate and was
its chief promoter. His son, Daniel Sutton junior, also a carpet manufacturer, took up
residence at 5 Edwardes Place between 1833 and 1838.15 The 1871 census showed
most of the residents in Edwardes Place to be earning a living from property and
dividend investments. In 1881 the Minister for Hornton Street Chapel was living at 5
Edwardes Place.
In 1900 Arthur Henry Johnstone Douglas of Kensington Estate Office applied to lay new
drains in the rear gardens of 1–5 Edwardes Place.16 By the time of the 1911 census, a
music publisher was living at the address, which was described as having 12 rooms. In
1912 internal works were effected at 5 Edwardes Place when Leslie, Marsh & Co. of 31
St Mary Abbotts Terrace, Kensington, applied on behalf of Mr. A. F. Strand to construct a
Hobhouse, Survey of London, extract taken from TNA, B1/127, pp.121-4
RBKC Local Studies, Card Index, WCS.P/10/321a
10 Parliamentary Archives, HL/PO/PB/1/1819/59G3n263
11 Hobhouse, H. (1986) Survey of London: Volume 42 English Heritage, pp.249-263
12 RBKC Local Studies, c.1900 Photograph in Kensington High Street Zone P Ephemera Collection
13 English Heritage, Images of England, 418374
14 Hobhouse, H. (1986) Survey of London: Volume 42 English Heritage, pp.249-263
15 Hobhouse, H. (1986) Survey of London: Volume 42 English Heritage, pp.249-263
16 RBKC Local Studies, Drainage plan for 1–5 Edwardes Place
new drainage system. A plan of the basement shows that it housed the kitchen, with an
outdoor larder and 2 coal stores outside the front, beneath the pavement. Behind the
kitchen was a passage with entrances into a wine cellar and small sitting room, and the
internal stairs up to the first floor. The scullery with hearth was in a small outshot at the
back of the house, and there was an outdoor WC underneath stairs leading from the
ground floor down to the basement garden.
A drainage plan from 1931 for the basement, ground floor and second floor of 4
Edwardes Place deposited at RBKC Local Studies Library offers an insight into what the
original layout of buildings in this terrace may have looked like, and is particularly
interesting when compared to a drainage plan for 5 Edwardes Place dating from October
1967. The 1931 plan shows a similar layout in the basement to the 1912 plan for 5
Edwardes Place. The first floor had a long hallway leading from the front door, widening
towards the outshot at the back, where there was a back door into the garden. Two
doors also led off the hallway into front and back rooms, which were interconnected.
This plan form is also discernible on the 1967 plan for 5 Edwards Place, when H. Corry
& Son Ltd. of 43 Pembridge Road W11 applied on behalf of Mr and Mrs J. R. Rathbone
of 5 Edwardes Place (domestic premises) and Raymond Andrews & Partners, architects,
to add new bathrooms and make alterations to the building. On the first floor, the front
room next to the front door was used as the Master Bedroom and the back room had
been converted into an en suite bathroom. Walls were removed between these rooms to
make way for new cupboards and a new interconnecting doorway. The main hallway led
down to a study in the first floor outshot, but the back door was blocked up and replaced
by a window at this time.
The 1967 plans show that the basement kitchen in 5 Edwardes Place had remained in
the same location since 1912, but the wine cellar and sitting room had been knocked into
one dining room with new French doors leading out to the garden, and a maid’s room
with shower had replaced the old scullery. On the first floor was a large open-plan living
room, since the interconnecting doors between the front and back rooms had been
removed and the existing opening widened. A roof patio could be accessed from the first
floor, above the study and maid’s room. The second floor comprised a nursery at the
front, which had been enlarged by removing a partition wall. There was a narrow utility
room between the nursery and the back room, which was used as a bedroom. Three
more bedrooms were on the third floor, and a small bathroom was refitted at the back
An application to RBKC Planning department had been refused the year before these
drainage plans were submitted, in November 1966, for change of use from a house with
ancillary dental surgery and workshop to a private house with paying guests. The 1966
paperwork has not been seen, however it would seem that the owners instead converted
the house for private use, since it is described as domestic premises in the 1967
Only two historic photographs have been identified for 1–5 Edwardes Place (see
Appendix 6), one dating from 1932 showing the top two floors of part of the terrace,
which indicates that the brickwork on the top floor of numbers 2–5 Edwardes Place, and
the second floor of 4 Edwards Place, was lighter in colour than the rest of the terrace. A
photograph of the front door at 3 Edwardes Place in 1957 shows it to have been painted
a light colour.
The documentary sources have revealed that Edwardes Place was built along the
northern boundary of Lord Kensington’s Edwardes Estate, laid out between 1811 and
1819, and completed by 1822 following a series of delays owing to the financial climate.
The estate was the first Georgian development upon fields to the west of Kensington,
and despite the initial problems experienced by investors it did eventually attract affluent
residents. The developer’s son lived at 5 Edwardes Place a decade after it was
completed. Historic drainage plans have shown that some alterations were made to the
interior layout of the rooms during the 20th century, and the building may have doubled
as a dentist’s surgery until the 1960s, after which time it was returned to use as a private
Architectural and Heritage Significance
Despite the problems that plagued the development of Edwardes Place, the terrace that
exists today displays the elegance typical of late Georgian London townhouses and no.5
contributes to this by being part of the overall architectural composition. The terrace also
has group value with 1-25 Earls Terrace and this is recognised in the list description (see
Appendix 1). It also contributes positively to the local townscape value of Kensington
High Street and the Edwardes Square Conservation Area.
The external appearance of 5 Edwardes Place has been described in some detail in
section 2 above. The house retains many original architectural features but has suffered
a few unsympathetic changes to fenestration, which could be easily corrected by
replacing the modern casements and restoring original sash windows to the 2nd and 3rd
floor on the front elevation and 2nd floor on the rear elevation. It should also be noted
that the basement French windows are a later replacement and the tall raised ground
floor window to the west elevation of the closet wing is not original either.
The modern timber staircase to the front basement lightwell is a detractor and should be
replaced in metal as found on neighbouring houses. The sloping brick flue to the rear
roof terrace was removed in the late 1960s and it would be good to see this reinstated to
match the other four terrace houses.
The interior has undergone a number of alterations over the years but its original plan
form is still discernible. Some of the fixtures and fittings are quite convincing
reproduction work rather than original. See Appendix 3a and 3b for internal photographs
of the house.
The basement was altered in the late 1960s when the cellar, which was positioned
between the front kitchen and the rear room, was removed to enlarge the latter. The
original door into the rear room faced the chimneybreast and this was blocked up at this
stage and the French doors were inserted then. Also, at this time the chimneybreast to
the rear utility room was removed. Overall the character of this floor is very plain, as one
would expect, however it still retains chimneybreasts to front and rear rooms, original
sash windows to utility room and kitchen, and the closed string staircase is original too.
The ground floor has a long hall leading to a very elegant open string staircase, which is
original. The front reception room is entered via a curved 6-panel door with reeded
Regency style door surround. The curve is repeated on the opposite corner of the
dividing wall and there are three further 6-panel doors with matching architrave, which
serve built-in cupboards. It would appear that these cupboards date from 1967 and the
partition wall may have been brought forward. The curved door appears historic even
though it was not drawn on the 1967 plan. A search of planning history of neighbouring
properties appears to show that no.1 has a curved doorway here and a 2008 plan shows
no.4 with a curved door but the partition wall is set slightly further back with curved
corners and this might have been the original arrangement for no.5.17 The front
reception room also has a dentil cornice, dado rail, window shutters and replica period
The rear room is of less interest and has modern shelving, window surround, cornice
and the chimneybreast has been either concealed or removed. The study in the rear
closet wing is very plain and the chimneybreast has been removed. The tall window
once had a door with an external staircase leading to the garden. Interestingly the single
flight of stairs to the hall is of the same design as the main staircase indicating that this
room had higher status and intended for use by the owner rather than the floor below,
which would originally have been used solely by servants.
The main staircase leads up to a half landing and there are French windows positioned
above dado level with a lift down step. The step and French windows appear late 20th
century and probably replaced a sash window and it is thought that the steel balcony to
the roof terrace was added at the same time.
The 1st floor contains the principal reception rooms and historically these would have
been used for entertaining guests, whereas the ground floor rooms would have been the
everyday family rooms. Designed as the piano nobile, the windows and ceilings are
taller and the front room is of course full width to emphasise the feeling of grandeur.
Originally the front room had its own doorway facing the staircase and the two rooms
would have been linked via a smaller opening but this arrangement was altered in the
late 1960s when the doorway to the front room was blocked and the wall separating the
two rooms was removed. The two marble fireplaces on the 1st floor reception are of a
Regency style and the one in the front room looks original, the overmantel on both may
have been replaced. The shelving to the front room is late 20th century and not of
interest. The cornice may have been replaced in late 1960s when the rooms were
opened up.
The main staircase terminates on the 2nd floor and there is a twin round arched screen to
the landing. This floor has undergone a greater degree of alteration with few original
internal features surviving. The original sash windows have been replaced with awful
modern casements. The rear bedroom doorframe to the landing appears historic and
worth retaining. The chimneybreasts survive to front and rear rooms and should also be
The staircase leading to the 3rd floor appears original and is of a simple closed string
type as one might expect. The 3rd floor is very plain and retains its chimneybreasts with
little else of special interest. The rear sash windows are original but the front ones have
been replaced with modern casements. The attic to the front roof is accessible from the
See RBKC TP/95/1112 for 1995 plans of 1 Edwardes Place and LB/08/01679 for 2008 plans of 4 Edwardes Place.
front box room and its ceiling has been lined with pine boarding and most likely dates
from the late 1960s refurbishment.
In summary, the attributes that provide architectural significance to this listed building
Group value as part of an elegantly designed early 19th century terrace which was
part of the Edwardes Square development
Original quality architectural features to front façade including a number of windows,
door, cast iron railings and 1st floor balcony
Contains original internal features along with some quite convincing reproduction
Historic floor plan survives largely intact along with original staircase
Potential to restore original fenestration to front and rear facades where modern
casements exist.
Planning History
The only planning history for this site relates to a 1966 application for ‘change of use
from house with ancillary dental surgery and workshop to private house with paying
guests’. This application was refused on policy and amenity grounds on the 16
November 1966.
The works we refer to in paras. 3.9-3.11 above did not require planning permission and
were undertaken before the building was listed in 1969.
In September 2014 OB Architecture submitted proposals to the Royal Borough of
Kensington and Chelsea as part of a pre-application consultation and received feedback
from the Council on 15 October 2014 (PRE/PLB/14/00960). At this stage the architects
were proposing a 2-storey rear infill extension and a roof extension to provide a
habitable accommodation at 4th floor and some significant changes to the floor plan. The
Council was quite discouraging of these proposals and advised that they would not be
supported at application stage.
In January 2015 OB Architecture submitted revised proposals to the Council
(PRE/PLB/15/00021) and a site visit took place between RBKC Officers, OB Architecture
and RMA Heritage. In their letter of 16 February 2015 the Council acknowledged that
progress had been made but still had some concerns about the degree of opening up on
the rear wall, side wall to closet wing, works to boundary wall, cellar vault, 1st floor
balcony and some of the internal alterations to 2nd and 3rd floor.
In March 2015 OB Architecture submitted an application for planning permission and
listed building consent (PP/15/01788), however the RBKC Officers took issue with a
small number of the proposals and the application was withdrawn. The current
application seeks to address these concerns.
The planning history on the other houses in the terrace was also checked and there are
a number of permissions that are considered relevant to this case.
On the 20 June 2008 permission was granted at 4 Edwardes Place for the
‘Erection of a conservatory at lower ground floor level and the formation of a link
between the existing balconies at rear first floor level’ (PP/08/1678 and
On the 25 January 2002 permission was granted at 3 Edwardes Place for
‘Erection of a conservatory at rear lower ground floor level, the formation of a
terrace at rear 1st floor level, alterations to the front and rear elevations together
with internal alterations’ (PP/01/2428 and LB/01/2429).
On 25 March 1999 permission was granted at 2 Edwardes Place for ‘Erection of
a conservatory at rear lower ground floor level and internal alterations’
RMA Heritage has reviewed this planning history along with the Council’s response to
the two pre-application consultations and OB Architecture has used this together with
our heritage significance assessment to inform their current proposals.
Current Proposals
We have revised the proposals following the feedback from the Planning and
Conservation Officers to the March 2015 application as follows:
Omitted the double doors to the rear reception in the basement and opening up a
blocked doorway;
Retained the existing door and doorway to the basement hall and blocked it on
en suite side;
Provided detailed drawings of works to boundary wall showing how a breathable
Delta membrane system will be used on the garden boundary wall to prevent
damp ingress to new extension;
The modification to the 1st floor rear reception balcony has been omitted;
The proposed 3rd floor shared en suite has been revised so that it is located in the
front bedroom so the partition wall is retained.
The proposals will therefore involve the following works:
1. Replace a modern timber staircase to the front lightwell with a metal one;
2. Replace 4 modern casement windows at 2nd and 3rd floor on the front elevation
and one on the rear elevation with sliding sash timber windows to match original
3. Erect a rear single storey glass infill extension at basement level;
4. Reinstate former sloping brick ‘flue’ parapet to east elevation of existing 1st floor
roof terrace;
5. Internal alterations to all floors including:
Reinstate floor plan to provide en suite to front guest bedroom in position
of former central cellar;
Remove modern French doors in rear elevation retaining jambs and
create new opening in side wall of utility room to create a usable family
kitchen/diner/living area in combination with the new infill extension;
Ground Floor
Alterations to partition wall to provide new opening between front and rear
Replace modern side window in study with smaller sash window to
accommodate roof of infill extension;
1st Floor
Reinstate doorway to front reception room;
Remove 1960s shelving to wall facing chimneypiece in front room and
restore cornice to original position;
2nd floor
Replace fixtures and fittings to en suite and dressing room with new
3rd floor
Provide a shared en suite positioned to the rear of the front bedroom.
All services will be renewed and repairs and refurbishment undertaken using matching
The new extension will provide approximately 13m2 of additional living space.
Policy Constraints
The proposal requires listed building consent (LBC) and planning permission.
There are a number of legal requirements in determining applications for listed building
consent and the most important ones are that the Royal Borough of Kensington and
Chelsea “…shall have special regard to the desirability of preserving the building or its
setting or any features of special architectural or historic interest it possesses.”18
In determining an application for planning permission or listed building consent in a
conservation area, the local planning authority or Secretary of State has a specific duty
to ensure “special attention shall be paid to the desirability of preserving or enhancing
the character or appearance of the conservation area.”19
National Policy and Guidance
The Government’s national policy on the conservation of the historic environment is
contained in Chapter 12 of the National Planning Policy Framework: Conserving and
enhancing the historic environment. For the purposes of the NPPF, the Grade II listed
building and the Edwardes Square Conservation Area are both designated heritage
The NPPF together with PPS5: HEPPG encourage early engagement in pre-application
discussions with local authorities and RMA Heritage is doing this through this exercise.
Paragraph 128 of the NPPF requires an applicant to describe the significance of any
heritage assets affected, including any contribution made by their setting. The level of
detail should be proportionate to the assets’ importance and no more than is sufficient to
understand the potential impact of the proposal on their significance. As a minimum the
relevant historic environment record should have been consulted and the heritage assets
assessed using appropriate expertise where necessary. This report seeks to do just that
and has been completed by an experienced historic environment consultant.
Paragraph 129 of the NPPF states that local planning authorities (LPAs) should identify
and assess the particular significance of any heritage asset that may be affected by a
proposal (including by development affecting the setting of a heritage asset) taking
account of the available evidence and any necessary expertise. They should take this
assessment into account when considering the impact of a proposal on a heritage asset,
to avoid or minimise conflict between the heritage asset’s conservation and any aspect
of the proposal.
Sections 16 and 66 Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.
Section 72 Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990.
Paragraph 131 states that in determining planning applications, LPAs should take
account of:
the desirability of sustaining and enhancing the significance of heritage assets and
putting them to viable uses consistent with their conservation;
the positive contribution that conservation of heritage assets can make to sustainable
communities including their economic vitality; and
the desirability of new development making a positive contribution to local character
and distinctiveness.
Paragraph 132 sets out a presumption in favour of the conservation of designated
“When considering the impact of a proposed development on the significance of a
designated heritage asset, great weight should be given to the asset’s conservation. The
more important the asset, the greater the weight should be. Significance can be harmed
or lost through alteration or destruction of the heritage asset or development within its
setting. As heritage assets are irreplaceable, any harm or loss should require clear and
convincing justification. Substantial harm to or loss of a grade II listed building, park or
garden should be exceptional.”
Paragraph 134 states that: “Where a development proposal will lead to less than
substantial harm to the significance of a designated heritage asset, this harm should be
weighed against the public benefits of the proposal, including securing its optimum viable
Paragraph 137 states that ‘local planning authorities should look for opportunities for
new development within Conservation Areas and within the setting of heritage assets to
enhance or better reveal their significance. Proposals that preserve those elements of
the setting that make a positive contribution to or better reveal the significance of the
asset should be treated favourably.’
The significance of both the listed building and the conservation area has been detailed
in this report and the impact of the proposals will be assessed and justified in
consideration of their significance and any public benefits that would result.
The NPPF attaches great importance to the design of the built environment and it states
in para. 56: “Good design is a key aspect of sustainable development, is indivisible
from good planning, and should contribute positively to making places better for people.”
Paragraph 58 lists that planning decisions should aim to ensure that developments:
• will function well and add to the overall quality of the area, not just for the short
term but over the lifetime of the development;
• establish a strong sense of place, using streetscapes and buildings to create
attractive and comfortable place to live, work and visit;
• respond to local character and history, and reflect the identity of local
surroundings and materials, while not preventing or discouraging appropriate
innovation; and
• are visually attractive as a result of good architecture and appropriate
It goes onto state in para. 60: “Planning policies and decisions should not attempt to
impose architectural styles or particular tastes and they should not stifle innovation,
originality or initiative through unsubstantiated requirements to conform to certain
development forms or styles. It is, however, proper to seek to promote or reinforce local
The recently published National Planning Practice Guidance (NPPG March 2014), which
supplements the NPPF policies, explains that in assessing whether works constitute
substantial harm to a listed building, ‘it is the degree of harm to the asset’s significance
rather than the scale of the development that is to be assessed’ (para. 017, Conserving
and enhancing the historic environment). Paragraph 019 states ‘a clear understanding of
the significance of a heritage asset is necessary to develop proposals which avoid or
minimise harm’.
When assessing any public benefits of a proposal, they could be anything that delivers
economic, social, or environmental progress and may include heritage benefits, such as:
sustaining or enhancing the significance of a heritage asset and the contribution
of its setting;
reducing or removing risks to a heritage asset;
securing the optimum viable use of a heritage asset in support of its long term
conservation (para. 020).
The NPPG Design guidance explains that ‘good design responds in a practical and
creative way to both the function and identity of a place’ (para. 001). Paragraph 004
explains that ‘local planning authorities should give great weight to outstanding or
innovative designs which help to raise the standard of design more generally in the area’
and that ‘this could include the use of innovative construction materials and techniques.’
With regard to promoting local character, the NPPG explains that development should
promote character by responding to and reinforcing locally distinctive patterns of
development, local man-made and natural heritage and culture, while not preventing or
discouraging appropriate innovation. The contribution that local building forms and
details make to the distinctive qualities of a place is recognised, and the guidance
identifies that these can be successfully interpreted in new development without
necessarily restricting the scope of the designer (para. 007).
PPS5: Historic Environment Planning Practice Guide (March 2010), which accompanied
the Government’s previous guidance in PPS5 is still extant and may also be material to
individual planning and heritage consent decisions.
Paragraph 86 of the PPS5: HEPPG states that: “Not all designated assets are of equal
significance or sensitivity to change. Some Grade II listed buildings and conservation
areas will be particularly important or sensitive to change, while others may be more
capable of accommodating it.”
Paragraph 179 of the PPS5: HEPPG states that: “The fabric will always be an important
part of the asset’s significance. Retention of as much historic fabric as possible is
therefore a fundamental part of any good alteration or conversion, together with the use
of appropriate materials and methods of repair.”
Para. 180 of the PPS5: HEPPG states that: “The junction between new work and the
existing fabric needs particular attention, both for its impact on the significance of the
existing asset and the impact on the contribution of its setting. Where possible it is
preferable for new work to be reversible, so that changes can be undone without harm to
historic fabric.”
Development Plan
The Council’s planning policies on conservation areas, listed buildings and archaeology
are contained in Chapter 34 Renewing the Legacy of the Local Development Framework
Core Strategy (adopted December 2010). On 3 December 2014 the Council adopted a
partial review of the Core Strategy Planning Policies - Conservation and Design Policy.
The policies that are considered relevant to this proposal include:
CL 1 Context and Character
CL 2 Design Quality
CL 3 Heritage Assets – Conservation Areas and Historic Spaces
 CL 4 Heritage Assets – Listed Buildings, Scheduled Ancient Monuments and
 CL 5 Living Conditions
 CL6 Small-scale Alterations and Additions
 CL 9 Existing Buildings - Extensions and Modifications
 CL11 Views
Policy CL1 states that “the Council will require all development to respect the existing
context, character and appearance, taking opportunities available to improve the quality
and character of buildings and the area and the way it functions, including being
inclusive for all”. Part (h) is the most relevant section to this application and seeks to
ensure that alterations and extensions preserve and enhance the characteristics of the
type of building, in this case a townhouse.
Policy CL2 states that “the Council will require all development to be of the highest
architectural and urban design quality, taking opportunities to improve the quality and
character of buildings and the area and the way it functions”. Parts (a) and (b) of the
policy sets out a series of criteria to achieve high quality design and ensure that
development is functional, robust and attractive, and also appropriate to the context of
the site.
Policy CL3 (a) states that: “the Council will require development to preserve or enhance
the character or appearance of the conservation area and protect the special
architectural or historic interest of the area and its setting;”
Policy CL4 aims to protect the heritage significance of listed buildings, scheduled ancient
monuments and sites of archaeological interest. With regards listed buildings the
following criteria is most relevant to this case:
require all development and any works for alterations or extensions related to
listed building, …… to preserve the heritage significance of the building, …… or
their setting or any features of special architectural or historic interest;
require the preservation of original architectural features, and later features of
interest, both internal and external;
i. take opportunities to reinstate internal and external features of special
architectural or historic significance, commensurate with the extent of proposed
ii. take opportunities to remove internal and external features that harm the
architectural or historic significance of the asset, commensurate with the extent
of proposed development;
strongly encourage any works to a listed building to be carried out in a correct,
scholarly manner by appropriate specialists;
Policy CL5 states that: “the Council will require all development ensure good living
conditions for occupants of new, existing and neighbouring buildings.” The following
criteria are relevant to the proposed development:
ensure that good standards of daylight and sunlight are achieved in new
development and in existing properties affected by new development;
require that there is reasonable visual privacy for occupants of new development
and for occupants of existing properties affected by new development;
require that there is no harmful increase in the sense of enclosure to existing
buildings and spaces neighbouring gardens, balconies and terraces;
Policy CL6 requires that alterations and additions do not harm the existing character and
appearance of the building and its context. It is aimed at protecting listed buildings and
buildings in conservation areas from the harmful effect of small scale incremental
changes; controlling alarm boxes, lights, CCTV, plant equipment, railings etc.
Policy CL 9 states that: “the Council will require extensions and modifications to existing
buildings to be subordinate to the original building, to allow the form of the original
building to be clearly understood, and to reinforce the character and integrity of the
original building, or group of buildings”. The Council states it would resist proposals for
extensions if:
the extension would extend rearward beyond the existing general rear building
line of any neighbouring extensions;
the extension would rise above the general height of neighbouring and nearby
extensions, or rise to or above the original main eaves or parapet;
the extension would spoil or disrupt the even rhythm of rear additions;
the detailed design of the addition, including the location or proportions or
dimensions of fenestration or the external materials and finishes, would not be in
character with the existing building.
Policy CL11 Views requires all development to protect and enhance views, vistas, gaps
and the skyline that contribute to the character and quality of the area.
In addition to the Core Strategy policies, the Council has a Conservation Area Proposal
Statement for Edwardes Square, Scarsdale and Abingdon Conservation Area. This
document describes the character and appearance of the conservation area and
provides advice on policy and the type of development that are likely to be considered
acceptable. It also puts forward enhancement proposals. However, it is somewhat out
of date as it was published in the 1980s and the planning policies have evolved since
then and there have also been new developments in the conservation area.
Assessment and Justification
Our client’s scheme seeks to provide additional living accommodation and make better
use of the internal layout while at the same time conserving the significance of the listed
building and restoring original architectural features. The house was last refurbished in
the late 1960s before it was listed so is in need of upgrading to modern living standards.
Following the Council’s pre-application advice in October 2014, RMA Heritage were
appointed to advise on the project and we have taken the opportunity to understand
more fully the architectural and historic significance of the listed building and guide the
architect’s proposals so the house can be adapted to modern family life while at the
same time conserving its special interest as a listed building. We have listened to the
advice of the Planning and Conservation Officers, revising the scheme further following
the pre-application consultation as set out in paras. 6.1- 6.2 above.
The scheme will restore the original fenestration to the front and rear elevations
replacing five modern casements with sliding sash windows to match the original historic
pattern. In addition the modern timber staircase to the basement lightwell will be
removed and replaced with an appropriate metal one. These proposals will help
preserve the special interest of the listed building and enhance the conservation area.
The current arrangement of 1960s kitchen and bathrooms is not very conducive to how
families use houses today. Part of the architect’s brief was to provide a master bedroom
suite plus 3 bedrooms with improved bathroom facilities and a guest bedroom with own
bathroom and to provide a combined family kitchen/dining/living room. Given the house
is on four floors and is to be lived in by a family it is essential to provide the
kitchen/dining/living area at basement level so it would have direct access to the south
facing garden. In terms of significance the historic floor plan of the basement was
altered when the central cellar was removed in the late 1960s plus it is very plain so is
more capable of accommodating change than the higher status ground and 1st floor
rooms. In order to provide this level of accommodation at basement level it is essential
to add an extension and to make this usable by proposing some limited opening up of
walls. This is done in a way that preserves the cellular nature of the building by retaining
nibs and downstands and expressing the original brick structure. Putting back the
central cellar room and using this as an en suite to the front bedroom also reinstates the
original floor plan and the two chimneybreasts are retained along with the staircase.
While there is some loss of historic fabric in the closet wing we believe it is justifiable in
that it is confined to part of the building that is of lower historic significance and has
already been altered in the past. RMA Heritage has advised on other listed townhouses
in Kensington and Chelsea and elsewhere, where a similar degree of opening up has
been allowed.
The glazed infill extension will provide a bright dining area adjacent to the kitchen and
the architects have taken a contemporary design approach here with a minimalist
aesthetic, which we believe to be appropriate as it will read as a 21st century addition.
The single large door will allow this room to have a closer connection with the garden
than say a folding or sliding door and it can be fully opened in warm weather. Given the
orientation of the site and secluded nature of the rear garden there will be no overlooking
issue, so the proposal is fully compliant with CL5 Living Conditions and the other Core
Strategy Heritage and Design policies. The works will involve minimal disturbance to the
boundary wall and the breathable Delta Membrane system will be fixed to the wall’s
mortar joints. The Delta Membrane system is reversible so it can be removed at a later
The front basement room converts very readily to a guest bedroom and may have
originally have been a servant’s bedroom.
If we are unable to achieve the degree of opening up in the basement that is now
proposed or the infill extension then the architect would have to place the kitchen in the
front and rear reception rooms on the ground floor. We believe this would be regrettable
as it would be a greater compromise to the historic significance of the listed building
having to place kitchen units in these reception rooms.
The present ground floor alterations are fairly minimal and will involve creating an
opening in the partition wall between the front and rear reception room, which was
altered in the 1960s when the cupboards were installed replicating the door surround to
the hall. The reeded architrave will be adjusted to suit the new partition opening. Our
understanding is that most if not all of the other houses in this terrace have openings
between the front and rear rooms.
The 1st floor proposals are very positive and involve restoring the original doorway and
panelled door to the front reception room, which faced the staircase and is shown on
historic plans. At the same time the 1960s shelving will be replaced and the cornice
restored to its original position. The two Regency style marble chimneypieces will be
retained on this floor.
On the 2nd floor the architects are now proposing to retain the existing historic floor plan
to the landing and will keep the existing access arrangement between en suite and
dressing room, so only the bathroom suite and built-in modern furniture will be replaced.
The restoration of the three sash windows to this floor will be a big improvement.
On the 3rd floor the scheme will maintain the original layout between the front bedrooms
and the only change to floor plan is the insertion of a shared shower room which is now
positioned in the front bedroom and will retain the partition wall to the rear bedroom. The
chimneybreasts are retained and the position of the bedroom doors is unchanged so one
can quite easily read the historic floor plan. If necessary in the front bedroom a different
material could be used on the wall of the shower room such as veneer, so it can be
easily distinguished from the rest of the bedroom. Inserting en suite bathrooms in
bedrooms in London townhouses and hotels is a common occurrence. The restoration
of sash windows to these two front bedrooms will be a big improvement.
There are only very limited public views of the rear of the site so the alterations to the
rear elevation and new extension will only be appreciated by those who visit the house
and perhaps by a few neighbours. Still the restoration of the original front and rear
fenestration is welcomed and the new glass extension has been skilfully designed using
a minimalist aesthetic that respects the listed building.
In our considered view, the proposals accord with the requirements of the Planning
(Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, national planning guidance as
contained in the NPPF and the RBKC Core Strategy Planning Policies - Conservation
and Design Policy Review (December 2014). The architectural legacy of Edwardes
Square Conservation Area will be conserved and enhanced by this proposal.
All together we believe there is much to commend this scheme as it respects the
significance of the listed building by retaining much of the historic floor plan and restores
original architectural features while at the same time adding new elements that display
exemplary contemporary design. The proposals will allow the listed building to be
adapted to modern family life and will bring about its much-needed refurbishment. The
loss of historic fabric has been significantly reduced from what was initially proposed and
will not cause substantial harm to the significance of the listed building. Therefore we
believe that the benefits of the scheme as a whole will outweigh any harm caused.
Richard MacCullagh MRTPI, IHBC, MSc, Dip. TP, BA (Hons)
RMA Heritage
March 2015
© Richard MacCullagh
Hobhouse, H. (1986) Survey of London: Volume 42, Kensington Square to Earl’s Court English
Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (1980s?) Conservation Areas Proposals Statement
for the Edwardes Square, Scarsdale and Abingdon Conservation Area RBKC
Appendix 1
DCMS List Description of 1-5 Edwardes Square, Kensington, London W8
TQ 2479 SE KENSINGTON HIGH STREET W8 35/18 15.4.69 Nos 1 to 5 (consec) Edwardes
Place II Four storey and basement, 2 window houses, very much as Earl's Terrace. Group with
Earl's Terrace. Layout and houses 1810-1819.