Heritage Statement. In support of this contention, the following points should be takeninto consideration:
There has been no discernable consultation with the Historic Environment Recordto inform this Heritage and Urban Design Appraisal. This is a
for the compilation of a Heritage Statement, and it should be rejectedwithout firm evidence of this.
According to the Appraisal, the site was previously a paupers’ burial ground untilits acquisition for the construction of the Covent Garden Workhouse, which wascompleted in 1778. However, the Appraisal pointedly fails to expand on thisimportant aspect of the site’s history. Just what exactly happened on this site
to 1778? What was on this site in the Medieval period (for example)? Howlong was the paupers’ burial ground in use and what was its extent? Was itcleared prior to the construction of the workhouse (there should be records), or merely built over? Are there a large number of extant burials on this site that willrequire archaeological excavation should the development proceed, or has thestanding structure destroyed any evidence of their presence? If there are burialshere, they would most certainly qualify as Heritage Assets under the definition of PPS5, and they would require specialist analysis. Potentially, they could providevaluable and significant information relating to the local lower social class populations of this part of London in the period up to 1778. These are important points that will affect the financial viability of any development scheme – yet theyare ignored in the very document that should be addressing them. These issuesshould be discussed in detail, and on the evidence provided the site should bearchaeologically evaluated prior to determination of either of the applications, inorder to assess these questions.
As outlined in PPS5 above, a Heritage Statement should assess the “significance”of the site. However, this is clearly not attempted in this Appraisal. There are no phased plans or elevations presented outlining the chronology of the developmentof the site, and nor is there any written description of the interior of the structureand surviving elements. Nor are there any photographs of the interior – in factthere is no evidence presented that indicates any study of the interior of this building was undertaken at all. All that is presented, is a short preamble regardingthe “history” of the existing building which largely concentrates on “damage” – whether by rebuilding, additions or bombing – without attempting to clarifywhether or not these episodes have detracted from the significance of the site.Paragraphs 3.13 – 3.15 are particularly evidential of this deficiency. At no point isany attempt made to outline the surviving elements of the structure that mightrender it of significance under the terms of PPS5. Instead, broad statements aregiven outlining the absorption of the 18
century building within a 19
centuryone (is this structure not significant also?), bomb damage, “poor quality repairs”,the unoriginal roof and supposedly altered interior. So what exactly does survivehere?