(1) The Bloomsbury Conservation Area Advisory Committee (BCAAC) covers the Bloomsbury Conservation Area as well as much of Fitzrovia, Covent Garden and Holborn. It was established by Camden Council in […….] as part of its duty to ensure that new development is compliant with the historic built environment. As well as reviewing and commenting on planning applications that affect its areas, BCAAC gives general advice on planning matters, and provides input into the Conservation Area Appraisal and other documents. There is more information on our website.

(2) Developers must understand the significance of the conservation area and its heritage assets, and are strongly advised to consult BCAAC direct at an early stage, in the light of the considerable weight that is attached to our guidance by Camden’s planning officers and councillors.

(3) The need for early engagement with BCAAC and of pre-application discussions is stressed in the Government’s Practice Guide. [1] Consulting BCAAC at the earliest possible stage benefits everyone, including applicants themselves, in terms of costs, time, effort etc.

(4) ‘Token’ consultation, after a detailed design has been drawn up, is a waste of BCAAC’s time and has a damaging effect on co-operation. Lack of meaningful consultation has resulted in extra cost, e.g. in the case of the British Museum’s North West Extension (WCEC).

(5) BCAAC normally considers a site meeting essential, in order to assess the impact of an application on its setting, together with plans and a Design and Access Statement. Accuracy and methodology of view impact studies are important.

(6) Developers must understand that there are certain planning principles and parameters enshrined in law, with which Conservation Area applications must comply right from the start, or expense and delays will occur. These include inter alia the requirements of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (in particular Section 66), the National Planning Policy Framework, and Camden Policy DP25 – Conserving Camden’s heritage.

(7) For all the above reasons, there is also a need to keep BCAAC updated on changes to applications after initial input/discussion.

(8) Deviations from advice or comments given by BCAAC will be noted by BCAAC and pointed out at application stage. Deviations from an understanding reached or agreed after a site visit or other consultation will similarly be recorded in any comments and objections by BCAAC.

BCAAC 2015


[1] 63. …Early engagement is particularly beneficial for proposals with the potential to impact on heritage assets or their setting. Pre-application discussions can increase the probability of a successful application and development outcome and in some cases may substantially reduce the burden of the consent process or even eliminate it entirely.

  1. Understanding the significance of affected heritage assets is vital to a successful scheme … Early engagement can lead to an agreed understanding of the nature, extent and importance of the significance of the asset or assets affected by a proposal, and identify the likely impacts on their significance before the details of the scheme are firmed up.
  2. Pre-application discussions can be critical for large-scale development schemes but even applicants with small-scale domestic proposals can benefit from early engagement …