MANY BUILDINGS in the Upper Norwood Triangle area suffer from a lack of maintenance, warns a new report.
That could mean historic features may come under threat from further deterioration, removal or inappropriate replacement.
The report – the Upper Norwood Triangle area appraisal and management plan – says the overall condition of the conservation area, which was included on the English Heritage buildings at risk register in 2010 but removed in 2011, is variable.
The buildings are mostly occupied and a large number of properties are maintained to a high standard, it adds.
But the report warns: “The demolition of listed buildings; locally listed buildings and buildings which make a positive contribution to the special character of the Upper Norwood Triangle conservation area, will not be considered acceptable.
“Historic two-storey late Georgian buildings are particularly at risk from redevelopment. “Due to their historic significance and contribution they make towards the varied character of the Upper Norwood Triangle, demolition of these buildings will be resisted.
“While insensitive development can instantly harm the conservation area’s special character, negative change can often occur incrementally through alterations which do not require planning permission, or alterations which occurred prior to the area’s designation.
The report warns the conservation area is at risk from threats to its special character and appearance.
Existing and potential threats – categorised as to whether they impact directly on buildings or the wider streetscape – are:
THREATS TO BUILDINGS
Partial or total demolition of historic buildings
Poor maintenance of buildings
Poor quality new development
Loss of historic architectural features
Introduction of poor quality new features and materials
Poor quality design and materials of new shop fronts and signage
Poorly designed and / or oversized extensions
Mansard roof extensions or dormer windows to street-facing roofs
Replacement of timber windows with uPVC or aluminium alternatives
Application of render / pebbledash render to exposed brick elevations
Re-pointing of brick walls with cement mortar
Installation of satellite dishes to roofscapes or front elevations
Solid shutters installed to shopfronts
Plot amalgamation resulting in buildings not in line with the established urban grain of the area
Loss of chimneys
Installation of poorly-sited renewable energy technologies and other building services
Commercial signage, particularly estate agents boards, cluttering building elevations
THREATS TO STREETSCAPE
- Poor highway works or paving
- Excessive traffic road markings
- Loss of historic cobbled streets
- Poor siting and upkeep of street furniture
- Street clutter from street furniture, including A-boards
- Loss or unsympathetic alterations to boundary walls, fences or hedges
REPAIR, RESTORATION AND REINSTATEMENT OF ARCHITECTURAL FEATURES:
The report says the conservation area would be enhanced through the repair, restoration or reinstatement of damaged or lost architectural features, including:
• The regular re-painting of timber features
• Decorative window and door surrounds
• Stucco / stone detailing and plasterwork mouldings
• Decorative motifs or string courses
• Ironwork railings
“All development proposals which include existing buildings should include the provision for the re-instatement of lost features and the removal of later additions that have harmed a building’s character.
“In principle the council supports and welcomes schemes for enhancement of the area proposed by property owners and / or the local community.
“Property owners are strongly encouraged to maintain their properties and undertake minor works that would improve the condition and appearance of their properties, which will have a wider positive impact on the conservation area as a whole. “Much enhancement of buildings and the wider area does not require planning permission; for advice on what works require planning permission please either see the planning portal or contact the council’s development management service.
“In order to ensure the survival of important architectural features regular attention is need to stop them falling into a state of disrepair. “The council therefore recommends regular maintenance is undertaken to retain the collective value of the attractive features present in the area.
“The need for minor works, if left unattended, may result in unnecessary decay and damage, which could lead to the need to conduct more complex and expensive repair works at a later date.”
Basic maintenance recommendations include:
• regular clearing of debris in gutters and rainwater pipes
• pruning of vegetation in close proximity to buildings
• re-fixing of loose roof tiles or slates
Other points from the report include:
VACANT SITES: There are no vacant development sites of a significant size in the Triangle conservation area. Therefore opportunities for new development could only result from the redevelopment of sites containing buildings that either make a neutral contribution or detract from the area’s special character.
STATUTORY LISTED BUILDINGS: At present there is one statutorily listed building within the conservation area. Listed building consent is required for all building works, both external and internal, that affect the building’s character.
LOCALLY LISTED BUILDINGS: Many buildings in the conservation area are locally listed. Demolition of these buildings are considered to cause substantial harm to the conservation area. Careful consideration must be given towards protecting important features present.
PLANNING PERMISSION: Most work undertaken to buildings in the Upper Norwood Triangle requires planning permission.
Demolition of buildings will only be permitted where the building in question has been identified in the report as making a neutral contribution to, or detracting from, the conservation area’s special character and there are acceptable plans for the site following demolition.
AMENITY SPACE: Careful attention should be paid to introducing amenity space where possible. All development within the Triangle should include through-access and amenity space.
COMMERCIAL USE: .All properties facing onto commercial high streets should maintain a commercial use at ground floor level.
SHOPFRONTS: All shopfronts should be of timber construction. Shopfronts of a contemporary design will not be considered appropriate in historic buildings. All proposed new shopfronts should respond to the established local context of traditionally designed shopfronts and should respect the period and character of their host buildings.
EXTENSIONS: Roof extensions visible from a public highway will be unlikely to be permitted due to the disruption of the predominant rhythm and proportions of the existing roofscapes in the conservation area.
Mansard roofs and large dormer windows to front roofscapes, as well as roof extensions to two-storey Georgian buildings, will generally not be permitted due to the detrimental impact on the design and character of the original building.
WINDOW REPLACEMENT: If, following advice from a professional joiner, windows are found to be beyond repair then replacements, which in most cases will require planning permission, should match the original window design and be of timber construction and should be double glazed.
The proposed use of uPVC or aluminium as a replacement material for original or traditional style timber windows will not be permitted as their proportions, opening methods, shiny plastic appearance, and light reflection are all at odds with the character of historic buildings. (The report highlights one example on Westow Hill where “unauthorised replacement uPVC windows have had a negative impact on the character of the host building, which would originally have had timber sash windows.”)
BRICK WALLS: Originally exposed brick walls should NOT be clad, rendered or painted as the colour and texture of existing brick walls contributes towards the conservation area’s special character.
All re-pointing of walls should be carried out with a lime based mortar to ensure historic buildings can extract any moisture that might build up in the walls so as to prevent the build up of damp. The use of cement mortar can harm the performance of historic buildings.
HISTORIC FEATURES: Historic architectural features make an important contribution to the conservation area’s special character. Special attention should be paid towards preserving important historic features present on these buildings. All development proposals should seek to retain and restore historic features if appropriate.
STREET FURNITURE: Some street furniture is in a poor condition and would benefit from repair, replacement or removal.
SIGNAGE: There is some unnecessary street furniture in the inner Triangle which could be removed to de-clutter the streets. Some street furniture in the inner Triangle, including road signs, pedestrian signs, bollards and fences, is in a poor condition, detracting from the quality of the public realm.
BUILDINGS WHICH DETRACT …..
The report also highlights some recent developments in the Triangle.
It says there are “several examples of new development of a varying quality” which have been constructed in the conservation area in recent years:
6 PADDOCK GARDENS
“This is an example of new development of a high quality design and materials, referencing the light industrial character of some buildings in the Upper Norwood Triangle Conservation Area.”
15-20 PADDOCK GARDENS
“This is a new development, built on land to the rear of 22-34 Westow Hill has not successfully integrated with its surrounding context. Unlike other developments in the inner Triangle it has no through access and its design does not respond to the character of the wider area.”
53-55 WESTOW STREET
“This is a development that in many ways respects the established character of the street. “However rather than interpreting the character of the area, the building its design is of a poor quality, lacking articulation and depth, being a pastiche imitation of adjacent buildings
(which begs the question…..)
….AND BUILDINGS WHICH DON’T
BLACKBIRD BAKERY on Westow Street is described as “A high quality new traditional style shopfront successfully integrated within a new development.”
THE TRIANGLE’S ONLY LISTED BUILDING is the GREEK ORTHODOX CHURCH, Westow Street: The tall spire of the Greek Orthodox Church of St Augustine and St Helen is a significant local landmark, and the church’s contrasting architectural style and materials contribute to its distinctive presence on the street.
The building is built in an early English style of Kentish ragstone to the street frontage and spire, with other elevations of London stock bricks with red brick arches. The church is in good external order following stonework repairs in c1999.
A PLANNING HISTORY – 69a WESTOW STREET
69a WESTOW STREET (The building encased in scaffolding which stands to the right of the Greek Orthodox church. It formed part of the White Hart pub and at one stage was the pub’s function room.)
69A Westow Street has been in a poor condition for many years. It is one of the conservation area’s oldest surviving buildings, dating from the early 19th century. It is now in a semi-derelict state.
Following an appeal hearing in 2010 over refused conservation area consent for demolition of the building, the Planning Inspectorate ruled that it is unrealistic to insist on the building’s retention. Subject to the submission of a planning application for a replacement building of an acceptable design, permission should be granted for its demolition.
AMENITY SPACE: Careful attention should be paid to introducing amenity space where possible. All development within the Triangle should include through-access and amenity space.
CONVERSION OF PROPERTIES: All proposed property conversions should not result in harm to the external character and appearance of buildings.All properties facing onto commercial high streets should maintain a commercial use at ground floor level.
EXTENSIONS: Roof extensions visible from a public highway will be unlikely to be permitted due to the disruption of the predominant rhythm and proportions of the existing roofscapes in the conservation area. Mansard roofs and large dormer windows to front roofscapes, as well as roof extensions to two-storey Georgian buildings, will generally not be permitted due to the detrimental impact on the design and character of the original building.
If it is considered possible to accommodate a roof extension to a property, it should be set back from the front building line so as to not be visible from the street and should be of a simple, unobtrusive and visually lightweight design so as to not dominate the host building.
Most proposed rear extensions will not be visible from the street and therefore not have a direct impact on the character and appearance of the conservation area.However all rear extensions must be careful not to adversely impact on the visual amenity of adjacent occupiers and should be subservient in scale to the host building. Where a proposed rear extension is visible from the street, careful consideration must be given to its impact and design.
WINDOW REPLACEMENT: Many historic buildings in the Triangle conservation area have timber sliding sash or casement windows. Original or traditional style windows should be retained and repaired.
If, following advice from a professional joiner, windows are found to be beyond repair then replacements, which in most cases will require planning permission, should match the original window design and be of timber construction and should be double glazed. The proposed use of uPVC or aluminium as a replacement material for original or traditional style timber windows will not be permitted as their proportions, opening methods, shiny plastic appearance, and light reflection are all at odds with the character of historic buildings.
Windows of other traditional materials should also be retained and repaired if possible. If replacements are sought then they should also be on a like-for-like basis in terms of design and materials.
BRICK WALLS: Originally exposed brick walls should not be clad, rendered or painted as the colour and texture of existing brick walls contributes towards the conservation area’sspecial character. All re-pointing of walls should be carried out with a lime based mortar to ensure historic buildings can extract any moisture that might build up in the walls so as to prevent The build up of damp. The use of cement mortar can harm the performance of historic buildings.
SHOPFRONT DESIGN: All proposed new shopfronts should respond to the established local context of traditionally designed shopfronts and should respect the period and character of their host buildings. Shopfronts of a contemporary design will not be considered appropriate in historic buildings. All shopfronts should be of timber construction..
CONSERVATION AREA SIGNAGE: The council in principle support any community-led projects to introduce signage to identify the conservation area, provided that it is of a design that would enhance the area’s special character and that the cost of maintenance and management are fully considered.
STREET LIGHTING: All new street lighting will be implemented in the area according to the adopted street lighting PFI (private finance initiative) agreement. All new street furniture should be located so as to have the minimum amount of impact on the public realm.
PLANNING ENFORCEMENT: If you feel that unauthorised development has occurred in the area, including the replacement of windows or installation of satellite dishes, please report this to the council’s planning enforcement team.
PHOTOGRAPHIC SURVEY: As part of this assessment a full photographic survey of the conservation area as visible from the street has been made, which will be used as evidence when reviewing any reports of unauthorised development.
HISTORY: The report is also worth reading for a (very large) thumbnail history of the area.
LISTED BUILDINGS, LOCALLY LISTED BUILDINGS, AND POSITIVES
Listed buildings; locally listed buildings and buildings which the report says make a positive contribution to the area:
Statutory listed buildings: Church of St Augustine and St Helen
Locally listed buildings: 1-4 Hollybush Terrace, 19, 25-27, 35, 47-49 (odd), 65, 67 and 73-74 Westow Street
Positive unlisted buildings: 1, 2-26 (even), 3, 17, 21, 23, 36-44 (even), 29-33 (odd), 41-45 (odd), 61, 63, 69, 69A, 73
Numbers 47-49 have particularly attractive decorative terracotta motifs incorporated into their facades. Other buildings that stand out as being of particular interest include the Old Post Office (number 35), an imposing building of Classical proportions and detailing, including architraves, cornices and timber boxing for Florentine blinds. Hollybush Terrace also stands out with its dark red brick, decorative brickwork mouldings and large corbels with moulded decoration above the pilaster dividing the shopfronts.
Forester’s Hall, once used as one of the Croydon crown courts, has an striking presence in the street. It is of a simple design with attractive gables and a decorative projecting clock that has intricate cast ironwork and a prominent entrance and pilasters.
The surviving two-storey Georgian properties are important historic buildings of a modest scale with Georgian proportions, simple detailing and features including sash windows and parapets. They include the terraces of 1-3 (odd) and 2-8 (even), 40-44 (even) and 41-45 (odd). Numbers 40-44 are a particularly well preserved terrace with attractive consoles and architraves.
The White Hart public house is an important landmark on the corner of Church Road and Westow Street when approaching from the south. The building is virtually unchanged from its construction in the 1890s and has an elaborate and varied roofline, with half hip gables to two elevations and a prominent tower with a pyramidal roof.
Much of Westow Street’s western side is dominated by the Norwood Heights Shopping Centre. Although the massing of the supermarket is well shielded from the street by mature trees, the street facing element is of a poor quality design that does not contribute to the character of the area. Greystoke House (numbers 80-86), located at the southern apex of the Triangle, also has a harmful impact on its surroundings due to its over-large scale. The modern development at numbers 55-59,although it follows established building lines, is of a poor quality design that mimics features found elsewhere in the area.
WESTOW HILL (INCLUDING PART OF CENTRAL HILL)
Locally listed buildings: Royal Albert and Sparrowhawk public houses, 20, 42-44 (even), 46-54 (even), 68 and 70-88 (even) Westow Hill
Positive unlisted buildings: 4-10 (even), 16, 18, 28-40 (even), 58-60 (even) Westow Hill; 1, 5-15 (odd), 19 Central Hill
Westow Hill contains the main concentration of shops and restaurants in the conservation area, with flats or offices in the upper floors of buildings.
Unfortunately the unity of the parades has been partly lost through a number of alterations to individual properties, including window replacements, the rendering of brickwork and the removal of original balconies and historic features. The buildings have attractive truncated corners where the building line breaks at St Aubyn’s Road.
The quality of shopfront design varies with some high quality timber framed shopfronts of a traditional design and some lesser quality aluminium framed example also present.
No. 20, the former Kennedy’s Sausage shop,has a striking 1930s facade with red brick and green tiling to the shopfront
Number 4forms part of the original design of the Sparrowhawk public house, which has an prominent corner presence with Classical proportions and detailing.
Numbers 12-24 and 34-40are examples of early 19thcentury historic buildings,although several have unsympathetic alterations to their elevations. 26-32 are a three-storey Victorian parade with projecting shopfronts that retain their original decorative pilasters.
The late parades of numbers62-68 and numbers 70-88(including The Cambridge public house) were completed in one
phase. These terraces and the public house have consistent window sizes, the remains of decorative mouldings running along both blocks, some cast iron balconies at first floor level accessed by French Windows, decorative pilasters and vermiculated quoins.
Locally listed buildings:Cambridge public house, 20, 52-64 (even), 70 84-88 (even), 94, 99, 104, 106 and 113 Church Road
Positive unlisted buildings: 10-18 (even), 22, 24, 66-82 (even) and 101-111 (odd) Church Road
Church Road contains a mix of buildings, some with commercial premises at ground floor level. Many buildings are of a high quality and contribute to the character of the conservation area. Numbers 26-48 are shop extensions to rear of the St Aubyns Terrace houses, occupying their former rear gardens.
St Aubyn’s Parade (numbers 52-64) dates from 1893 and is a red brick terrace of shops with a distinctive stone tourelle (part turret) with curved sash windows, and decorative gabled bays marking the centre and end. The roofline was formally surmounted by a series of terracotta urns, with just two remaining above 56. A variety of windows and shopfronts of varying standards have disrupted the unity of the terrace, as have a proliferation of satellite dishes that are visible from the street.
ST AUBYN’S ROAD
Locally listed buildings: 17-32
The terrace of four-storey houses on the east of St Aubyn’s Road are grand in appearance and have feature bay windows projecting to second floor level, which have been removed from two houses harming the unity of the terrace.
6.7 PADDOCK GARDENS
Positive unlisted buildings: 6
There are several modern developments located on Paddock Gardens, which vary in design quality. Of particular note is the block of flats at number 6.
6.8 HAYNES LANE
Locally listed buildings: 1-11
Positive unlisted buildings: 18
THE REPORT also refers to “The early 20th century building in the grounds of Upper Norwood Children’s centre, which forms an important buffer between the rear of the Norwood Heights shopping centre (Sainsbury’s) and Westow Park, is a historic structure of some architectural significance.”
The building was the tuning house of the Royal Normal School for the Blind which occupied several buildings in the grounds of what is now Westow Park.
STREETS WITHIN THE CONSERVATION AREA
All or part of the following streets are located within the Upper Norwood Triangle Conservation Area:
• Westow Street (all)
• Westow Hill (south side)
• Central Hill (part)
• Church Road (part)
• St Aubyn’s Road (all)
• Carberry Road (all)
• Stoney Lane (all)
• Ovett, Telford and Brunel Closes (all)
• Paddock Gardens (all)
• Haynes Lane (all)
• Coxwell Road (all)
• Gatestone Road (all)
• Bedwardine Road (part)