Historic Buildings and Conservation Committee

Committee Chair
Rob Briggs

Committee Secretary
Vicki Fox - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

What does the Commitee do?

The LAMAS Historic Buildings and Conservation Committee (HBCC) reviews applications for listed building consent and seeks to ensure a sustainable future for vital aspects of London’s built heritage.

When the Council for British Archaeology (CBA) was established in 1944 the notion of above ground archaeology was well established. There are ancient upstanding remains in Egypt and the Middle East – in Britain we have Roman walls, Saxon churches – and, closer to the present, defunct industrial, agricultural, domestic or other structures. These all have stories to tell, with archaeological techniques able to flesh out historical information. The CBA wanted to keep an eye on this heritage, and sought agents around the country to do the legwork.

LAMAS became their London agent, for which it set up its Historic Buildings Conservation Committee (HBCC). The CBA and HBCC continue to keep an eye on the built environment, but now operate largely independently.

Nowadays, Local Planning Authorities put all building applications on publicly accessible websites. The LPAs are required to send applications relating to listed buildings (Grade II or above) to the CBA or other national amenity societies such as the Georgian Group, Victorian Society or the 20C Society. The CBA has established a database for these applications, which it now shares with the other national amenity societies, so that LPAs have a single point of contact for such submissions. Boroughs vary widely in what cases they forward to the CBA – a few are prolific, some send a few, while others have yet to send any. The CBA only deal with the minority of cases they deem to be of National importance.

The HBCC meets monthly to consider cases that are deemed to be of importance to London and its individual Boroughs. These naturally include listed buildings, and it uses the CBA database for most of the cases it handles, though borough databases are also used. The HBCC, with an active membership of about a dozen, is conscious of the gaps in its coverage of London. Some members cover more than one borough, but the HBCC is always ready to recruit people with local knowledge who can easily spot which applications might be contentious. Keeping up to date with all 32 borough databases would need more scrutineers.

The HBCC is able to add weight to cases already being handled by other bodies or individuals faced with damaging proposals. It considers all the cases that come its way, including those where the ramifications of a minor looking case might be significant in creating an unwelcome precedent. For unacceptable cases, it writes to the LPA putting forward its objections.

Plans for too many sites are still drawn up showing nothing beyond the site boundary - applicants may not appreciate the heritage value of buildings, their own or of their neighbours. Faced with such an application an overworked LPA officer may go along with it, unless an objector, such as the HBCC, points out the heritage aspects.

How can you help?

Would you be able to keep an eye on the planning permissions in your area? And forward any noteworthy cases to the HBCC. Listed buildings, including those on the Borough’s Local List (most have one), are obviously of interest, but unlisted buildings may be of importance too if they affect the setting of a heritage asset.

If you have the odd hour to spare and are interested in the heritage of your local area, the HBCC would be happy to guide you through your borough's planning website and help you with notes on how to assess the planning proposals.

If you are interested in getting involved, please contact Vicki Fox, the HBCC Secretary, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.