The London Plan – Strategic View Management

The London Plan is the overall strategic plan for London, and it sets out a fully integrated economic, environmental, transport and social framework for the development of the capital to 2036. It forms part of the development plan for Greater London. London boroughs’ local plans need to be in general conformity with the London Plan, and its policies guide decisions on planning applications by councils and the Mayor.  The London Plan establish the London View Management Framework, which seeks to designate, protect and manage twenty seven views of London and some of its major landmarks.

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“For centuries, London has been home to some of the world’s greatest buildings and urban spaces.  We are privileged to enjoy this architectural
history as we go about our daily lives. When we cross one of London’s bridges, walk along the South Bank, or visit one of the viewpoints above
the city, such as Parliament Hill, Primrose Hill or Greenwich, we are reminded of London’s history and beauty, and why we love living here.

High quality, well-designed and thoughtfully located new buildings can add to our enjoyment of our city. They can help grow our economy, add vitality to our streets and complement our existing historic buildings, places and parks.  However, it is important that we find a way of ensuring that new development fits with our built heritage so that London continues to be a desirable place to live, work and do business.  In July 2011 I published my London Plan which not only strengthened the protection for strategic views but also provided greater clarity as to their management.”  Boris Johnson, Mayor of London

King Henry VIII’s Mound, Richmond Park

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Richmond Park, close to Kingston University, was first enclosed by Charles I and is the largest of London’s Royal Parks. King Henry VIII’s Mound is reputedly a Bronze Age barrow, much altered. It provides magnificent views across the Thames to Twickenham and the North Downs to the west. To the east, the dome and peristyle of St Paul’s Cathedral can be seen through an avenue of trees both from the mound and from the footpath in front. This avenue was planted in the early 18th Century in order to create a ‘keyhole’ view of the then newly completed Cathedral. The avenue has been maintained for this purpose since then, and is pruned regularly.

Description of the View
Although King Henry VIII’s Mound’s location is far removed from central London, it offers a truly unique view of one of London’s best-known landmarks, ten miles away.  The view of St Paul’s Cathedral from King Henry’s Mound is fully framed by trees, the aperture changing in size and form owing to the seasons and pruning management.  Very little intervening development can be seen in the foreground. Development around Broadgate and Liverpool Street Station can be seen in the background beneath the springing level of the dome. Also in the background, partially hidden by trees on the left but discernible by the viewer, is the vertical edge of the recently completed Broadgate Tower.

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Visual Management Guidance 
A Protected Vista has been defined between the Assessment Point and St Paul’s Cathedral. Development that exceeds the threshold plane of the Landmark Viewing Corridor should be refused. Development that exceeds the threshold plane of the Wider Setting Consultation Area of the Protected Vista in the foreground,  middle or background should not compromise the viewer’s ability to recognise and appreciate the Cathedral. It should not dominate the landmark, or cause a canyon effect.  In determining applications, it is essential that development in the background of the view is subordinate to the Cathedral and that the clear sky background profile of the upper part of the dome remains.

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  1. Pingback: Arcadian Thames – A Royal Landscape | Landscape Interface Studio

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