Thanks Sage & ColDayMan - your continued interest is much appreciated!
Originally Posted by photolitherland
Ive got a question that you might know the answer to. I've tried looking up historic preservation in london and cant really find much about it strangely. Do they have laws or ordinances protecting the cities old buildings or districts like NYC and other American cities? I'm sure they do but just would like to know more about it.
Yes, there are a whole bunch of rules. Buildings in the UK can be 'listed' - which means owners have to get permission from the local authorities before they make any changes. If interest groups object, the decision can go all the way up to central government or even to the courts. There are three grades: Grade I, Grade II* and Grade II. Older buildings are more likely to be Grade I, while buildings less than 30 years old are hardly ever listed. The main difference between the grades is that I and II* buildings can qualify for state assistance for restoration. On this page, St Paul's, Deptford
is an example of a Grade I listed building, Stockwell bus garage
is Grade II* listed and Southall Water Tower
(now apartments) is Grade II listed.
Larger areas can be designated as conservation areas - here, even owners of buildings that are not listed have to apply for permission to do things that might change the character of an area like changing the cladding on a building or chopping down a mature tree.
Another set of rules also preserves sightlines in London - so for example, no one is allowed to build a tall building that might pop up behind this view
of St Paul's Cathedral. That's why the Leadenhall building
is such an odd shape - if it was a regular rectangle it would impinge on St Paul's sightlines.
Finally, London has four world heritage sites - the Tower of London, Westminster, Kew Gardens and Greenwich.
Seems strange that such a chaotically built city should have so many rules - I guess the British don't like planning things, but we do like preserving them!
More info here.