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Buildings of local interest

Cambridge has over 1,000 buildings that, although they do not meet the national criteria for statutory listing, are important either by themselves or as part of a group.

These buildings of local interest have been designated because of their architectural merit and, in some cases, their historical associations.

They may contribute to and help to define the character of the townscape of an area, or be significant in the historical and architectural development of the city. Many are 19th and 20th century buildings and some street furniture is also included.

This document is correct at time of publishing, however alterations may occur at any time. Contact the Urban Design and Conservation team at planning.conservation@cambridge.gov.uk for confirmation or otherwise that a building is of local interest.

Benefits of designating

The aim of the list is to safeguard the buildings and to ensure that repairs, alterations and extensions are sympathetic to their character.

Designation as a building of local interest brings a number of benefits to the owner or occupier. Help and advice is freely available to those carrying out alterations and repairs,  and some relaxation of building regulations may be appropriate for such buildings.

Criteria

Buildings of local interest have no statutory protection. The list of buildings of local interest is advisory only and does not provide the council with extra powers.

However, existing powers will be used to preserve these buildings when considering applications for planning permission.

The list of buildings of local interest included in a local plan is a material planning consideration when deciding on applications under the Town and Country Planning Acts. The need to conserve the special characteristics of such buildings is recognised.

Many alterations and developments require planning permission. Proposals relating to these buildings should pay special attention to preserving features that contribute to their character, maintaining proportions, preserving the setting and using appropriate materials.

This is not to say the building must be preserved exactly as it is, but that any alterations should be carried out in a sympathetic manner.

Building regulations

Further guidance on building regulations with respect to historic buildings can be obtained from Historic England's publication Energy and Historic Buildings.

The guidance states that the aim during any works should be to improve energy efficiency, sound insulation and access as far as possible. However, this must not prejudice the character of the historic building, or increase the long-term deterioration to the building's fabric or fittings.

It is necessary to achieve an appropriate balance so advice from the building control surveyor and the conservation officer is key.

Alterations and demolition

Our policy is stated in the Local Plan 2018, and is as follows:

“The Council will actively seek the retention of local heritage assets, including buildings, structures, features and gardens of local interest as detailed in the Council’s local list and as assessed against the criteria set out in Appendix G of the plan. Where permission is required, proposals will be permitted where they retain the significance, appearance, character or setting of a local heritage asset. Where an application for any works would lead to harm or substantial harm to a non-designated heritage asset, a balanced judgement will be made having regard to the scale of any harm or loss and the significance of the heritage asset.”

Building materials

Please consider that:

  • plans for alterations and repairs to buildings of local interest should pay particular attention to the existing building materials and should specify appropriate materials for the work
  • alterations or repairs to external elevations should respect the existing fabric and match it in materials, texture, quality and colour
  • brick and stone should not normally be rendered unless rendered originally
  • every effort should be made to retain or reuse facing brickwork, flintwork or stonework, tile hanging or weatherboarding
  • particular attention should be paid to roofing materials to keep repairs in character, and to materials for door and window frames and surrounds, chimneys, and paints
  • this does not necessarily mean that modern materials cannot be used, but they should not damage or threaten to damage the building or alter its character.

Key features

Please consider that:

  • buildings acquire much of their distinctiveness from features such as doors, doorways, windows, and chimneys, as well as special features such as balconies, parapets, porches, dormers or decorative plasterwork
  • many buildings are on the list because of their value as a street or terrace of a uniform style. The removal of a feature or an inappropriate replacement can affect the individual building and degrade the uniformity of the setting
  • windows should be repaired or replaced like-for-like, and the use of standardised factory-made windows in particular should be avoided
  • doors and doorways should be retained and, if a replacement door is required, it should be copied like-for-like
  • chimney pots and stacks are valuable decorative and functional features, as well as often being structurally vital, and should be retained
  • other special features should be retained and repaired if necessary. If replacement is unavoidable, it should be like-for-like
  • where features are being replaced that are anomalous in the context of the terrace or street, they should give an appearance closer to the norm

Identification

We may identify buildings for possible inclusion or removal from the list of buildings of local interest in the course of ourr daily work. Also, we might receive a request from an amenity society, local interest group or the general public.

We will then inspect the building and prepare a recommendation if we consider it worthy of inclusion on (or removal from) the list.

Buildings may be added because they were overlooked when the list was first prepared, or new information comes to light about them. They may be removed if substantially altered, damaged or demolished.

The recommendation will include:

  • a written description
  • justification for inclusion or removal
  • a location plan
  • photographs
  • any available information about the building, eg dates, special functions, historical associations, architect, group value, significant interior features.

The owner of the building will be consulted and will have the opportunity to make representations on a proposal to add or remove a building from the list. This is in line with new guidelines from the government on statutorily listed buildings.

Decision

An officer or officers may make the decision, the committee having delegated them powers for this purpose. Once approval has been granted, the building will be included on the list.

All owners, occupiers and other interested parties (including Historic England) will be informed as soon as possible. They will receive an explanatory leaflet including who to contact for help and advice.

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