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Wed July 15 2020

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Historic England updates tall buildings guidance

4 Mar Tall buildings should make their towns and cities better places, not worse, according to updated guidance from Historic England.

View of London’s Isle of Dogs from Greenwich. © Historic England / Chris Redgrave
View of London’s Isle of Dogs from Greenwich. © Historic England / Chris Redgrave

In London, for example, Historic England cites the Cheesegrater as sensitive to its historic environment but the Walkie Talkie as too dominant for its context.

Historic England is updating its tall buildings advice note, which guides planning of tall buildings to help developers, designers, local authorities and other interested parties.

It has today published an updated draft advice note to guide the planning and design of tall buildings. This is now out for public consultation before the final version is published this summer.

The tall buildings advice note, which was originally published in 2007 and was last updated in 2015, states that whilst tall buildings can make a positive contribution to city life, they can also wreck the historic character of places. It highlights the importance of considering historic context and protecting the historic environment and the need for high-quality design, as well as the need for sustainable development.

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Historic England has updated the advice note in response to recent changes in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and recent good practice. It offers useful guidance to those involved with the planning and design of tall buildings.

Historic England chief executive Duncan Wilson said: “Well-designed tall buildings can be positive additions to towns and cities when thought is given to their location, but we see many ill-considered proposals that would harm their surroundings. With London and major towns and cities throughout the UK receiving large numbers of applications every year, we have updated our advice on planning for tall buildings so it reflects our recent experience and restates the need for new buildings to offer a meaningful response to the history and character of our cities.”

To see and respond to the updated advice note, visit:

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