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HomeHarrow CouncilCouncil approves 'special character' areas in Harrow to safeguard heritage

Council approves ‘special character’ areas in Harrow to safeguard heritage

In a move aimed at preserving the historical character of Harrow’s neighbourhoods and protecting its architectural heritage, the council has given approval for the establishment of Local Areas of Special Character (LASC) within the borough.

The decision, which came after extensive consultation with local and national conservation groups earlier this year, was made during a meeting of Cabinet Members last night.

The move is seen as a significant step towards safeguarding the borough from inappropriate development and maintaining pride in Harrow.

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LASCs are a locally tailored planning policy designation that will be specifically targeted at areas in Harrow characterised by their exceptional architectural, townscape, and environmental qualities. These areas hold considerable local value and contribute to Harrow’s unique heritage.

One of the primary objectives of the LASC designation is to protect the character of these areas and resist any development that could be detrimental to their distinctiveness.

This means that any future development in LASC-designated zones will need to be in harmony with the local character, ensuring that it does not compromise the borough’s historical charm.

While LASCs offer increased protection, they differ from Conservation Areas in one key aspect. Unlike Conservation Areas where permitted development rights are restricted, LASCs do not alter these rights.

Property owners within LASC-designated zones will still have the freedom to make certain changes to their buildings without seeking planning permission. However, any changes that could affect the environment must demonstrate that they are in line with preserving the character of the LASC.

Deputy Leader for the London Borough of Harrow and Cabinet Member for Planning and Regeneration, Councillor Marilyn Ashton, expressed the significance of this decision, saying, “Some parts of Harrow have really striking townscape, architecture, and landscaping. They add to Harrow’s local heritage but may not be of conservation area quality.”

She added, “The LASC designation of an area will ensure we can protect against development which is inappropriate and out of character, maintaining the unique historical local character of areas or neighbourhoods within Harrow which residents cherish and value.”

The Harrow community is encouraged to suggest areas for LASC designation, and these suggestions will be carefully assessed in the future.

The findings and recommendations will be presented to the council’s Planning Policy Advisory Panel.

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