Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Listed Building Controversy in the City

The Broadgate Centre, an office and retail estate in the heart of The City of London may not be everyone’s idea of heritage, but every decade has its architectural high points, and the 1980s is no exception.

The complex is described by English Heritage as “one of the most important and successful developments of its period and type, possessing special architectural and historic interest”. They also note that it is a “triumph of urbanism, a special place in the financial heart of the capital”. It’s therefore unsurprising that the body charged with protecting our built heritage should recommend that it be granted Grade II listed building status.

Broadgate Arena, City of London. Photo: Jim Linwood., Creative Commons, FLICKR 
By refusing to endorse this recommendation, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has cleared the way for British Land and its private equity partner Blackstone to demolish 4 and 6 Broadgate. They will be replaced with a new European HQ for Swiss bank UBS. British Land’s new development, representing an investment of £850m, will commence almost immediately. Staff here at FIND, based in The City of London, were particularly pleased to learn that British Land has given an undertaking to preserve the open space at Broadgate Arena which hosts sporting events during the summer and is transformed into an ice rink during the winter.

Listing a building is not meant to fossilise it – especially when long-term interests are often best served by putting it to good use. However, listing does ensure that the architectural and historical interest of a building is carefully considered before alterations are agreed. It is therefore vital that developers, planners, insurers and estate agents have instant access to detailed information about listed buildings.

At you will find data on all listed buildings in the UK – approximately 370,000 in total. Links are provided to either the Images of England or the Historic Scotland websites for additional information about particular buildings. Images of England is a ‘point in time’ photographic library of England’s listed buildings recorded at the turn of the 21st century.

Listed building locations as seen on
Further valuable information can be found under planning applications on the FIND web portal. This layer displays details of all planning applications for properties, whether granted, refused or pending. The applications can be filtered to display information by month, year, size, property type, development type or status of application.

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